Managing Your Digital Reputation in a Crisis

United AirlinesPepsiUber.  No matter your brand’s profile and success, you’re not immune to PR crises that invariably bleed over into the digital realm, regardless of whether they began online or not.  Before your brand even makes a mistake, be sure to have a solid digital reputation strategy in place for handling any and all customer feedback.  It will save you the much larger headache of trying to clean up after a big mess (à la United Airlines).  Below are some things to keep in minding when crafting a brand management playbook:

 

1)     Respond to Customer Complaints

This may seem a little elementary, but it’s absolutely crucial that customer complaints are addressed in a timely and courteous manner.  According to a recent Mintel study, 69% of respondents consult others before making a purchase decision, and this includes reading online reviews. What begins as a complaint on Yelp, if ignored, could quickly turn to a full-blown angry YouTube video.

Now there are some nuances to responding to online complaints.  If you’re tempted to fire off a hot-headed rebuttal that places blame entirely on your customer’s shoulders, don’t.  Not only will it serve to antagonize an existing customer, but it will also turn off any potential customers reading your reviews.  Remember, anything you post online can easily be shared by others, so choose your words wisely.

 

2)     Follow Through on Promises

Don’t make promises to irate customers to simply get them off your back.  While providing a solution to a complaint should be done whenever possible, it’s equally damaging to make a promise that your company can’t keep.  Ensure that you follow through with your proposed resolution, and your angry customer could very well turn their review into a positive one.

 

3)     Take Feedback Seriously

While research indicates that only 13.5% of people post a review with the intent to harm a company’s reputation, 73.2% of people post negative reviews online in order to keep others from having a negative experience.  Because most people are simply trying to help their fellow customers, there may be a real operational or customer service issue they’ve identified that needs addressing.

 

4)     Don’t Make the Same Mistake Twice

Perhaps most importantly, don’t continue to make the same mistake over and over, especially if it’s an issue multiple customers have identified.  Any response made online will ring false if your company is not committed to improving true problems.

 

Protecting your digital reputation is increasingly important, especially given our tendency to seek a second opinion when shopping.  By tackling feedback proactively and creating an effective process through which complaints are addressed, your brand can avoid a major crisis.  Contact Launch Agency today for assistance in managing your brand’s digital reputation.