Home » Damage Control: How To Overcome Negative Publicity

Damage Control: How To Overcome Negative Publicity

Businesses lose roughly $537 billion each year due to bad publicity and poor customer experiences. Between this loss of profit and a negative reputation, many companies are forced to close their stores before they go bankrupt. However, there are ways to combat this bad press without shutting down. Some companies bring in new management, which tends to have some success. But for business owners who are emotionally attached to their companies, or for smaller businesses without a large market looking to buy them out, that isn’t a viable option. Here are a few steps to take when looking to save a business’s reputation without giving up the reins.

Changes In Policy

When new management is not an option, some policy changes are a happy medium. Rather than stepping down, the owner can implement new rules or changes in procedure to try to negate the problem. If the problem is with the customer experience, new guidelines may be introduced to employees — whether it’s cash handling procedures, scripted interactions with customers, or harsher punishments for inappropriate behavior. Business owners also need to pay attention to their reviews: according to Complaints Base business reviews, online feedback can be a much-needed gauge of customers’ opinions, to see what still needs to be improved upon.

Following through on changes in policy and procedure is also vital. Business won’t improve if the customer base continues to see problems with their experiences. Even if this means firing an employee who repeatedly violates new policies, it is imperative to appear proactive and avoid further incidents. Getting a second opinion can help in instances of doubt: whether it is from a trusted colleague or a reputation management firm, an outside source can provide an objective viewpoint.

How To Address A Problem

To keep business up and running in the midst of bad publicity or a major scandal, certain steps need to be followed carefully to ensure a change in public opinion. First, the problem should be addressed immediately. Much like celebrity scandals, silence can imply guiltiness or a lack of care. When a company makes a major misstep, it is important that they address the issue publicly before the media makes a statement. This way, the story is controlled by the business, rather than by rumors. This statement should also include an apology and a promise to change. Potential customers look for accountability and honesty, so accepting the responsibility rather than making excuses will sound more professional.

When facing negative publicity or bad reviews, the way a company reacts and responds is a deciding factor in whether they can rebuild or not. This process takes both time and patience, as well as a heaping serving of graciousness. The community needs to see a united, accountable front in order to change their minds; they must feel like they can trust the company to do and be better. When they see that a business is striving to meet their goals, they’re more likely to give it a second chance. This acceptance of blame and push for change is everything the public needs in order to forgive, forget, and try again — and it's the only way to revive a business from negativity.

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