Many business owners try to blame others for ruining their reputations and making it hard to conduct business. While there is no doubt that this can and does occur, the truth is that many more entrepreneurs ruin their own reputations. Many of reputation management mistakes are easily corrected if you know the correct path to follow.
When someone makes a negative comment about you or your business, do not try to get the mistake removed from the Internet or print media. Deleting negative comments left on a company’s website can cause that customer to voice their opinions on other forums such as Facebook and Twitter turning one comment into thousands.
Be timely in responding to negative comments. Consider the example of Nestlé’s when a customer altered their logo in protest to their social policies. Someone representing the company immediately demanded that the post be taken down. Many people responded because of the sarcastic or antagonistic tone in which customers were addressed in the post. The battle continued which of course kept bouncing the battle to the top of everybody’s newsfeed.
Instead, of letting this happen to you or your business, it is important to be proactive. Have a plan before a crisis occurs explaining exactly how you want employees to respond. State the rules on your page ahead of time so that customers understand them. Once someone strays from the rules, politely remind them once. If they choose to do it again, then block them from your page. Consider if shutting down the page is the correct course of action. Make sure that someone is always monitoring the page.
For example, when Pampers introduced their Dry Max diapers, some parents complained on the company’s Facebook page that the diapers gave their babies a rash. Pampers showed that they were immediately listening to their customers by creating a special “Ask Pampers” section on their page. Pampers instantly created a hotline where consumers could call with any questions that they had about the product. They also created an area where parents could give each other advice. Furthermore, the company worked very closely with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to prove that their diapers were not a problem keeping their customers constantly updated on the news.
While you may be angry enough to want to take legal actions against the person attacking your reputation, this is usually not a good move. The court case will drag on for a long time and will possibly be covered on the news giving your company press that it does not need. Instead, take a deep breath and realize that most of the time the attack will blow over in a few days.
It may be very tempting to hire writers to create bad reviews for your completion and positive reviews for your company. Do not do this as it is against the law in most countries as Samsung found out the hard way. Samsung hired two marketing companies to do the writing and posting for them. When the case went to court, Samsung had to pay $340,000 for the negative reviews and each marketing company had to pay $100,000. Instead of relying on these techniques, use a great reputation management company to bury the negative information legally through providing good content.