Your company’s success depends on the impact your brand has on all your customers. Do you have full control? Or are you immersed in a reputational crisis without knowing it? Here’s what to do
The value of your name is what you have most precious
We want to start with this sentence to mark immediately how fundamental this aspect is in the world of the web. Because of course, there are many points that must be taken into account in front of a brand that works online:
- creation of new content;
- earnings and losses.
Not to mention the actual functioning of the website, through the IT department, always working to improve the user experience day after day
But without a reputation on one’s own name, a real value, all this will be useless. Or rather, it will maintain the form of a drop of water, in a boundless ocean of like, without name and identity.
It is the universe of the unknown, where in front of the general public, everyone is alike to his neighbor and his rival and to a competitor on the other side of the world.
But this does not mean that reality is like that, but it is simply how it looks. Because everyone has their own differences, merits, originality, strengths and a personal experience that can become unforgettable.
But only if the name will remain imprinted in the mind of the customer. And to do this comes into play the online reputation and its analysis.
How to do a good reputation analysis
We talked in another article about the main steps to follow to monitor the web reputation. And they continue to be essential to ensure the control of the situation, through:
- know what users say about you, on social media, blogs, forums;
- work on multiple points and platforms and not just one (but having the “main” one);
- Maintain uniformity of style, creating a solid identity;
- Listen to people and their feedback/experience to improve;
- Never give up.
You can understand how this is a time-consuming process, full of obstacles and necessary with so much commitment. But this is the price to pay for the success of being remembered.
And relying on experts like us at ReputationUP will make all the difference.
Therefore the management of the web reputation must be put among the primary tasks of each company, both for those who are living among the thousand drops of water, without a clear identity, and for those who believe they are part of it.
Those who believe it, but in reality are not, will have a harder road to take: it includes those who do not know they have a bad reputation in one or more points of the network. And without an accurate reputation analysis this will never come out! You will continue to work as if nothing were wrong, without understanding why the results are getting worse over time, with drops in sales, interactions and lost customers.
Anyone without a strategy of analysis could be exposed, pointing straight at a dangerous road, with a ruthless result.
The terror of the reputational crisis
A reputational crisis occurs when the perception of the company is seen by the majority of the public through the lens of a negative phenomenon related to it.
Facebook and the Cambridge case Analytica, Amazon and the exploitation of workers, Apple and the programmed obsolescence of iPhones. These are all examples of situations where the brand’s reputation is threatened by a negative impact event.
But there is a difference when it comes to these industry giants, which are… giants. And as such, however serious and harmful the scandal may be, the business will continue to proceed, often even when you enter the field of illegality.
In 2012, the banking giant HSBC was accused of money laundering, yet it is still one of the most powerful banks in the world.
The situation changes when it comes to small and medium-sized enterprises.
Here, reputational crises have a much more devastating impact on the entire business, not having the same power as those who bill billions. A defective product, careless assistance, abrupt delays or local hygiene; depending on the activity and the problem, the crisis of reputation is around the corner.
And fixing the issue will not be that simple.
How to mitigate and resolve a reputational crisis
The reputational analysis has therefore shown that things are going in the wrong direction and everything could soon get worse.
It is therefore now essential to take control of the situation. Nothing will be resolved on its own without the intervention of those directly concerned; indeed, it can only go worse and worse to the deepest abyss of a complete loss of confidence in the market.
1.Root of the problem
We need to understand some points about the source that gave rise to the halo of bad reputation around the company:
- when it happened;
- when/for what reason;
- where on the web;
- by whom it was initiated.
These data will help to have the clearest possible picture of the matter. It’s essential to better interact with unhappy and trustworthy customers who wouldn’t welcome a “hello, we have no idea what’s going on, tell us”.
More knowledge means more security.
2.Set to Offline
It’s not necessarily the case that all the answers come from themselves. Instead, it is possible to not have clear in the immediate future what is happening; but in reality this is not fundamental. What matters is to show the public that the company is present, whatever the reason: because it certainly exists.
It then moves on to blogs, communication channels and social media to pause the queue of content programmed over time. This is because, in the middle of a reputational crisis, no one will be pleased to see an image of the latest discounts or an article on confidence.
What really interests the public is the brand’s interest. And until you have something in your hand to answer, web marketing can wait.
Anyone on these occasions would like it to end as soon as possible, however, it is better to think before making thoughtless decisions. A response, or worse, a communication, sent in the flow of events could only cause further damage.
If all is not clear, just make yourself known by ” we are here, we know there is a problem, we are ready to work on it”. The community will at least be aware that they are not alone in this unpleasant situation.
You may know it without saying it, but we’re cautious: speed counts. The longer the time from the discovery of the reputational crisis to the time of the action, the greater the damage.
You need to have the resources to be able to create an emergency team in the shortest possible time, ready to work to save the brand.
So now you’re ready to take to the field, on the one hand curbing the problem and on the other avoiding any word/action ready to create another slip-up:
- publish a status on social pages and, if possible, use a pin to place it at the top of the page;
- prepare a crisis FAQ page with all the information needed, without forgetting anything. Also include who and where each customer can contact;
- create a useful hashtag for users to get an idea of the number of customers involved;
- draw up a list of measures/advice for users to follow.
The task is to reach as soon as possible the highest number of people in the online world. So be willing to activate paid social campaigns to maximize results.
And for any message, email or call received, there must be a prompt response starting with all the details and updates of the situation.
Trying to channel the reputational crisis into a single point on the web is a wise move. The recommended place is the main social page, where interactions are simpler and more direct than the site.
In this way you will have more control and less dispersal of what is happening. Create a dedicated spot within the site/page where users can easily interact with the company and with each other.
The advice is to accept hundreds of furious and negative comments on the Facebook page. Because if they are not expressed there, they will turn elsewhere, where you will have no power of communication.
6.Don’t lose control
It’s panic. People are furious, sales collapse, the office is in turmoil and apparently the problem is big.
An unreal scene for some, closer for others and perhaps faithful for some unfortunate people who have experienced it. But the climate within the reputational crises becomes heavy for everyone.
That’s why you need to know how not to lose control:
- managers, superiors, bosses or, better, the CEO, must explain the whole situation to the whole office, clarifying doubts and showing details. In this way the entire team will be prepared and will have the same wealth of information as others to make the best decisions;
- those who have direct contact with customers should be strong and not give up. On social media you will have to respond to most of the comments, as long as this is in a constructive way. When the conversation turns into an outburst of anger, pull back;
- communicate and create a circle of information on developments, thus having the opportunity to have solutions from the entire team.
7.Find an Ally
Depending on the scale of the crisis, it will take some time before it becomes a distant memory. In the worst case scenario, it will drag the entire company into the hole.
Although I do not wish any of the companies that operate, it may happen. And if this were not the case, the consequences of such a situation could be many and harmful in various ways.
Moreover, making all the right decisions is not easy at all:
- you are not an expert in reputational crisis management;
- you are directly involved, so it is difficult to remain detached from it;
- this is not necessarily the only problem the company is facing;
- there may be a lack of resources, knowledge or personnel to manage it.
But the customer, unhappy and betrayed, is certainly not willing to listen to the reasons why the brand is having problems to fix what it has caused. In short, gasoline on the fire.
Passing the ball to the experts in the field may prove to be the right move. The ReputationUP team has been working in the field of reputation for over 10 years, having experienced all sorts of situations with dozens of companies around the world.
We know how devastating a reputational crisis can be, and that’s why we’re ready to take charge of it:
- reputational analysis –> through online monitoring, you will be able to understand what your company’s sentiment will be and improve it accordingly
- reputational crisis –> once the damage is done, we will be ready to rush to help. We have the means and knowledge to contain, provide and resolve the crisis through an elaborate process
Before falling into the tunnel of the crisis of reputation, rely on reputation analysis and all this can be avoided (also) thanks to us.