It is no big surprise that we’re big supporters of transparency here at Trackur All shameless plugging aside, it is pretty obvious that both companies and individuals often get more heat for their efforts to cover up their wrongdoing than they do for the actual misdeed itself. So what happens when you get into hot water? Do you have a plan for executing damage control? How about preventing it in the first place? Often, simple prevention is much less costly than clean up –both in dollars and reputation. We’ve outlined a few of our favorite tips for helping prevent the need to break out that ‘reputation crisis control’ plan below.
- Monitor what is being said about your company online and let people know you’re listening. Keep an eye on general sentiment, respond to commentary, and make note of your most vocal supporters. Having reinforcements to turn to if your brand should fall under attack is invaluable.
- If someone has a problem, fix it. Sounds pretty simple, but often companies let small frustrations go unresolved. Small frustrations can turn into big problems for a brand. If that small frustration happens to be vented on a Twitter account with several hundred followers, who each have several hundred followers… Well, you can see where this could get out of hand quickly. It is much easier to eat a little crow and do what it takes to turn this frustration into a great experience. You’ll have a fan for life.
- Don’t take the bait. If someone is goading your brand online, attempt to resolve their problem and move on. Fighting back will only make you look foolish. Everyone loves a little drama, but not many people like to associate their wallet with drama or volatility.
- Set realistic expectations and follow through. This seems glaringly obvious, but time and time again companies will try to oversell their product, leaving customers dissatisfied. Simply being honest with your customers will get you much further than overpromising on something that can’t be delivered.
- Although people want transparency, keep it professional. No one wants the gritty details of your guys’ weekend in Las Vegas or a rant on your most recent political pet project. Keep conversations fairly clean unless you want your business to be associated with the topic.
- Own your mistakes. The public is much more forgiving if you fess up and let people know what you’re doing to fix the problem. As mentioned above, attempting to cover up a mistake creates the sense of sensationalism that gets people talking. If you take control of the situation from the get go, it removes the dramatic aspect of the issue. People are very quick to forget a problem when there’s no drama accompanying it.
It seems pretty simple, but if you read the news you know that many companies often panic and try to hide mistakes instead of simply fixing things and moving on. Extending the same courtesy to your customers as you’d expect a brand to extend to you is the simplest way to diffuse a difficult situation. What are you doing to keep your company’s reputation positive and drama free?