Your hard earned reputation needs protection.
Good reputations take time to achieve and build, but in the blink of an eye can be shattered. Even big businesses can suffer and take some time to repair and re-build the trust that has been lost through ‘bad press’.
How can you protect your business?
There are some simple steps you can put into place to prevent bad press, the obvious one being, providing excellent customer service. You want your customers to be raving fans and keep coming back to you for your products or services and share their experience with others. So keep them happy.
• Operate your business honestly and professionally and always treat your staff, suppliers and customers with respect and they in turn will respect you
• If you get bad feedback, don’t ignore it. There are so many places now that people can post damaging feedback, so you need to make sure you are monitoring all social media and feedback sites. Set yourself up with Google Alerts, these monitor the web for new content, you can use specific words and phrases which will highlight publicity about you and your business. It’s simple to do and can also help you to monitor topical news in your industry sector too.
• If you think there could possibly be ‘negative reaction’ to something you are involved in be sure to have a prepared statement/response for the media. The last thing you want is to be put on the spot, or on the back foot, answering sensitive questions
• Knee jerk reactions are often not good, as they are not thought through and can sometimes come across as defensive or aggressive when there is no need to be
• Always tell the truth, be open and honest. If you have made a mistake, hold your hands up and say so, ‘We have made a mistake and are taking steps to ensure this never happens again.’ Don’t make excuses and blame someone else
• By preparing a response in advance you can think through possible questions you might be faced with and prepare your answers to any negativity with ‘positives’ to diffuse the situation
• Make sure you allow yourself time to respond. Where possible ask for questions to be emailed to you so you allow yourself time to read through them properly rather than have a conversation on the telephone. Often things can be taken down incorrectly or out of context. If you have questions laid out in an email you can type your answers in a response, avoiding misquotations. Whenever possible ask someone to read through your email response before sending. A second, fresh pair of eyes will see mistakes and can challenge your answers/thinking to ensure everything is factually correct and you are totally happy with your response before sending.
Granted there isn’t always the gift of time, but if you do have it – use it.