Founding Father and inventor Ben Franklin said it best: "It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it."
A company's bad reputation quickly casts a shadow on the positive aspects of that organization. All it takes is a couple of unfavorable online reviews. Research shows that not only do 91 percent of people read those reviews but 84 percent have faith in them, as if they were personal recommendations. Failure to recall defective products and public disclosure of discrimination are high on the list of issues that damage company reputations.
Companies with bad reputations not only alienate customers and clients; they also have a difficult time recruiting talented employees. In fact, 71 percent of U.S. workers say they will not apply for a job if the press is churning out negative stories about a company.
Here are three steps you can take if your company has acquired a bad reputation:
Audience: Customers & Employees
Recommendation: Own your mistakes
Accept the blame for a mistake, whether it was your company's fault or not. The adage, "The customer is always right" holds true here for both customers and internal customers, such as your employees. Don't ignore the issue hoping it will vanish. Don't make excuses for the actual or perceived mistakes. Acknowledge the error and announce how the company plans to fix it.
Stay ahead of any negative stories or perceived mistakes by monitoring your online presence. Use social media to understand customer complaints. Pay attention to employee complaints as well, such as those posted on employment sites. Be proactive in your approach to fixing any issues.
Recommendation: Recognize and reward your current employees
Happy employees are your best brand ambassadors. Recognizing and rewarding current employees contributes to workplace happiness.
Recognize and reward your employees as the company experiences successes. After all, your employees made those successes possible so prompt and timely recognition that specifically references the success is the key.
Appreciating your employees for a job well done will increase happiness, productivity and loyalty to your company. Happy employees give a company positive, free publicity.
Recommendation: Deliver on your promises
Keep your word: Do what you say you're going to do. If you promise two-day shipping, don't ship in four days. If you offer a free service with every purchase, honor it. The customer or client wants to know that they're paying for what your company promised. Delivering on your commitments keep customers satisfied. Satisfied customers provide favorable feedback online that can dilute the effect of negative reviews.
Respond to customer or client calls and emails promptly. This let's them know that they're important to you. Offer discounts, free services or perks to loyal customers. Being trustworthy and responsive contributes to a company's excellent reputation.
A company's brand reputation is a critical component of its success. Controlling your reputation by owning mistakes, being reliable and creating happy employees with rewards and recognition can go a long way to repairing a bad reputation.