With the world of technology developing at an overwhelming speed, it has brought countless positives into the world, enabling us to connect, communicate and work more efficiently.
However, digital evolution has also brought its challenges. With social media marking the arrival of viral content, news can now be shared across the world in mere seconds, leading to, for example, ‘cancel culture’ becoming a concern to many. Missteps and wrongdoings now have a global spotlight. All of this means that it’s now more important than ever for companies to be on the ball in terms of their reputation management.
While not every company will face a global crisis that will reach millions, your business’s reputation could be put at risk by just one bad review. Once shared publicly, a damning review can easily reach the screens of both your current and target customer base, putting your entire company at risk.
When staying one step ahead of any negativity, the best approach is to open clear and straightforward communication channels between your business and your customers. Give your clients the chance to share experiences related to products or services straight away and directly to yourself.
This is relatively simple to do by sending surveys to your customers following their purchases or by building strong, personal connections while working with your clients. By doing this you’re giving your customers the opportunity to raise any problems or concerns before they take to the review section on Google or Facebook. It is also important to create direct communication with consumers, so this is a great point at which to connect with them.
By showing your customers you care about their feedback, clients will be more inclined to let you know, ensuring you can deal with any situation – before it goes public.
Preparation is also crucial for ensuring you are ready to respond to any threats to your reputation. Start by identifying the core team members who will be responsible for dealing with a crisis. This can include those working in communications and customer service, along with your key spokespeople.
Next, outline a clear process of what needs to happen and when. Once you’ve identified a problem, ensure you’re clear on who will play what part in ensuring a quick response is made publicly available. This process will then ensure you’re able to react swiftly as, if a situation does scale, you can get ahead of any dialogue being created.
If something does go wrong within your company, crisis communications will be essential for dealing with the problem. The key to an effective crisis comms strategy is transparency, so when something goes wrong, be honest with your customers. Prepare a statement. Get in front of the situation and be transparent.
Reach out and explain what happened and why before detailing your response to the situation. Then, as you take action, continue to keep them up to date with your progress. While your customers may be annoyed or disappointed by the problem, they will appreciate the honesty and will be much more willing to move forward positively.
“I firmly believe that you don’t have to be the best – or own the best – to be successful. You have to do what you say you’re going to do, to the best of your ability and to your clients’ needs. Every time. And own it if you make a mistake. Get in front of an issue and be honest. Integrity is everything.” – Ruby Edwards
Throughout this process, it’s essential to keep your entire team up to date with the situation and ensure everyone is on the same page. This will ensure you are all focused on working to the same resolution, and should they face queries from clients or outside sources, they know exactly what to say.
For more about managing your business reputation – and for all things PR – please contact Ruby at You Do Better PR on 07891 777464 or go to: www.youdobetter.co.uk.