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Business Owners – How to Deal with a Reputation Crisis – Five Top Tips

While the internet has made it possible for businesses to reach a much wider customer-base, it’s also made it possible for information about your business to be rapidly shared to a huge audience.  This is fine when it comes to great reviews, after all, your business reputation is more important than ever these days with so many of your competitors online too.  However, when you receive negative reviews, you need to take a proactive approach and fix it before it results in a serious reputation crisis.  A negative impression of your business, whether it’s accurate or not, can result in the loss of current and potential customers and affect your business growth so it makes sense to have a plan in place to protect your business from a crisis before it happens.

  • Tell your business story now and tell it to your audience so that you’re in control of the narrative right from the start.  Create positive online content by publishing relevant and interesting articles about your business’s positive work and, if possible, share it on blogs and websites.  Look for guest blogging opportunities which will enable you to tell your story to a wider, peripheral audience as well as getting the message out to your core audience.
  • Optimise your content to make it work effectively for your business and establish your credibility before it comes under fire.  Provide your readers with valuable insights on the issues that surround your business sector and offer information about the sector in a format that the general public will find easy to understand.  This will establish your business as a business to be trusted.
  • Go the extra mile and keep your business relatable with a cause that’s not purely business oriented.  Many businesses are involved with charities and other organisations and activities that are not for profit.  Talking about these extra business activities in a non-promotional way will engage your customers in a positive manner.  This also brings your business to people’s thoughts when they are also involved in these activities, spreading the love.  However, do be careful not to involve your business in issues that can be divisive and polarising, such as politics.
  • Put yourself out there – don’t keep a low profile, especially when it comes to social media.  Respond to customer comments, thank them for great reviews and generally join in the online conversations that your customers are having on your social media channels.
  • If you do receive a negative review – don’t delete it, that’s the worst thing you can do.  Instead, respond to the comment, apologising for the negative customer experience and find out what you can do to put it right.  You may need to replace goods free of charge or offer freebies or discounts on the customer’s next visit/order, perhaps have flowers or a hamper of goodies delivered to the customer.  Responding to negative comments in a positive manner will put your business in a good light and build trust with current and potential customers.