Sometimes, a company’s reputation reaches the point which I call “critical mass.” Critical mass happens when there are so many negative reviews, social media comments, blog posts and websites about a company that no amount of SEO-based efforts will help to put things right.
When this happens, there’s a long, hard road ahead. However, you can recover when your reputation goes off the deep end.
1. Find the common threads in all of your complaints.
There are always going to be common threads in this slew of negative press. Find them.It could be that your customer service team doesn’t really respond to problems. It could be that the item you’re selling breaks or doesn’t do what it promised. It could be some problem with your billing policies.Whatever it is, if you’re seeing it over and over again then it’s safe to say that you’re not a victim of falsified negative reviews. This is a clear sign that there’s a big problem you need to fix.
2. Develop and implement a solution.
Maybe you need to hire more customer service agents, or give them more power to make things right. Maybe you need to adjust your training or your metrics so that your employees aren’t encouraged to upset customers in order to meet the goals you’ve set for them. Maybe you need to tighten up your product line or adjust your policies.Whatever it is, you’re going to have to address it if you want to stay in business.
3. Start talking about the solution.
Once you’ve fixed the problem make sure other people know about it. Talk about fixing the problem on your blog and social media channels. Try to find a way to get some placement in earned media sources in which you discuss how you’ve made your big turnaround.You can even answer each of the negative reviews with a comment on what you’ve done to address the situation, which gives each customer a chance to return and see for himself or herself.
4. Keep making improvements and doing good.
Each time you improve your company you increase your chances of turning your reputation around. You can also reach out to your community by sponsoring events, giving money or goods to charity, or otherwise making an effort to make your world a better place. Every bit of positive press helps you navigate yourself back into the public’s good graces.
This isn’t fun advice to give, but the truth is, it takes time to reverse a bad reputation. You’re going to have to launch a focused plan and you’re going to have to stick to it for the foreseeable future.Hopefully, you will then learn from this experience, and take steps to ensure that you never hit “critical mass” again. And if you haven’t hit critical mass
you’re in the best position of all. You can keep watching your organization for signs of trouble and correcting problems
so that you don’t have to face down a storm of negative criticism sometime in the future.