Social Media can be your best friend or your worst enemy. With websites like Yelp and blogs that circulcate everywhere, it is easier than ever for a customer to impact your company’s image. No matter how great a company is, they will most likely deal with a disgruntled customer at least once in their life span. Reputation management is not about avoiding the inevitable customer rant, (although if you get them often you may want to re-evaluate your business processes), but about dealing with them in an effective manner so that the customer feels they were heard.
With the success of the ABC show Scandal, we can finally see the amount of work that is dedicated to appearing perfect for the outside world. The show follows the true story of Judy Smith, a professional crisis manager responsible for big names such as George Bush Sr. and Monica Lewinski. Although dramatized and very extensive, the work done in real life and portrayed on the screen can be directly applied to any reputation management problem you may have – including online.
A few weeks ago, during an Oprah Winfrey interview, Judy Smith explained how she would have handled some of the biggest scandals that have unfolded in recent years. For example, she believes that Tiger Woods handled his cheating situation poorly. Instead of dragging his story out, he should have just come clean in the beginning. By keeping the number of mistresses a secret, the scandal never ended because more and more women kept coming forward. This all could have been avoided if Tiger had been honest from the start with the public.
So what can we learn from this brilliant advice (besides don’t freak out)? It’s easy: address the situation in a timely matter, come clean from the start, and don’t become defensive.
Now that we have gone through these simple steps of reputation management, it is important to note that you won’t win them all. Some customer complaints need to be personally worked out offline. In these instances, keep the viewers in the loop by posting how the situation was ratified after the issue has been solved. Even then, there will always be people who will try and take advantage of your hospitality and fight to the end about what they think they deserve – even when you genuinely did nothing wrong. In these unique instances remember that not every customer will want to return, no matter how accommodating you are. Do what is right for your company’s values and don’t dwell on those who refused to be helped. Now go forward in good prosperity and don’t let those customer comments bring you down with them!
By: Dana Andersen, Creatine Marketing
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