- Acting fast and avoiding justification may make the customer happy and turn them to your brand ambassadors.
- Always bear in mind that customers who complain and shout loudest when unhappy are likely to be loyal customer if treated well.
- Avoid attacking the person who posted or trying to prove you are right. This will only make things worse.
A friend of mine called me the other day with a heavy heart. A potentially brand damaging post was circulating on the social media posted by a customer who was allegedly mistreated by one of his staff.
In all times, bad publicity or scandals involving business staff, owners or products are lethal weapons that can bring business down.
The rise of internet and social media have made any information regarding a product, company or bad customer experience move very fast and reach many people even before the management drafts a damage control strategy.
You can do everything possible to treat customers well but still a mistake can occur in the process and anger a customer who shouts loudly and attracts attention of others.
Your staff or yourself may post or do something with good intention but happens to anger some customers and ignite fire on social media and other platforms.
Such occurrences require quick sober thinking and action to avoid ruining your brand or business completely.
You may consult public relations experts to help you craft a strategy to save your brand but few things can help you managing the situation.
First, do not ignore the issues raised whether they have merits or not in your own view. Immediately contact the affected customer and aplogise as you explain the situation and solve the issue.
Acting fast and avoiding justification may make the customer happy and turn them to your brand ambassadors. Always bear in mind that customers who complain and shout loudest when unhappy are likely to be loyal customer if treated well.
Avoid attacking the person who posted or trying to prove you are right. This will only make things worse.
Second, using the same medium keep the affected customer and the public updated on what is being done to address the situation and ensure such incident does not affect other customers. Use the complaints or negative reviews as learning opportunity to avoid similar incidents in future.
Third, review your policies and processes to ensure you deliver what you promise because the negative review puts you on the spot and may attract keen scrutiny in other areas as well.
Fourth, do good deeds consistently. When your firm has been on the media for all the bad reasons and customers are retreating in droves, the mistake you can make is to lower your standard or respond in a manner that justifies the allegation. Some customers will still come because they are not aware or don’t believe what is being circulated.
Others will come because of convenience or lack or better alternative. By doing good consistently you disapprove your critics.
Finally, remember times heals. There are situations that demand you keep quiet and let the dust settle a bit before you respond and as you continue doing what is right.
In some cases, the bad publicity may work for you. It makes you noticed by prospective customers and other constituents who will them develop interest in you. That limelight poses a great opportunity to market and strengthen your brand.
Mr Kiunga is author of ‘The Art of Entrepreneurship: Strategies to Succeed in a Competitive Market’.