Your business’s reputation is a powerful thing. It can either be one of your greatest assets or one of your biggest liabilities.
As a business owner, you’re probably well aware that reputations can take years to build, but only seconds to tarnish. And, rebuilding your business reputation can be difficult—but it’s not impossible. Here’s where to start.
How to rebound from a bad reputation
Rebounding from a bad business reputation likely won’t happen overnight (unless you have a magic wand). For us non-wizards, it takes time, effort, and a whole lot of patience. To help speed up the process of restoring your business’s reputation, use these five tips.
1. Address customer concerns ASAP
When it comes to a rotten business reputation, nothing is worse than letting people stew. Instead of giving people the time to ponder about what your business did wrong, respond to their worries ASAP.
The sooner you address customer concerns, the quicker things will blow over. Timing is everything when your reputation comes into play. The longer you wait to address the issue, the harder it will be to make a comeback.
Address customer concerns across every possible platform your business is on. Think your business website, social media, and review sites. And, if you’ve never Googled your business before, now’s the time to do it, folks.
Do as much damage control as you can when you catch wind of your bad reputation. That way, you can diffuse the situation before things really spiral out of control.
2. Keep your eyes peeled on social media
A good chunk of the world—45% to be exact—is active on social media daily. With so many individuals using social media every day, social platforms can be used as a tool for marketing your company’s offerings. But when you get bad publicity, social media turns into a tool for consumers to further damage your reputation.
If your business reputation goes sour, be sure to watch your social media accounts like a hawk for comments, posts about your company, and mentions. Monitoring social media 24/7 can help you catch negative comments and feedback quickly.
Be prepared for some nasty comments about your business. As soon as you see feedback (good, bad, and ugly) on social, respond to it. After some time, you’ll (hopefully) notice things dying down on your accounts and going back to the status quo.
3. Highlight your business’s standards and values
Although negative press can really put a damper on your business, it’s also an opportunity to let certain aspects of your business shine. When dealing with a bad business reputation, you can highlight your business’s standards and values.
To give you an idea of some things you may want to spotlight on your social media or business website, let’s take a look at some core values of my accounting and payroll software company, Patriot Software. Some of our core values include following the golden rule, leading and not following, and giving more than we take.
Plaster your values and standards across your business website if you haven’t already. And, include them on your social media pages. Regardless of how you mix them into your marketing, you can use your standards and values to show others why they should trust your business and employees.
4. Own up to your mistakes
Humans are humans. They take wrong turns and make mistakes. The truth is, customers don’t want to support perfect. They want to support humans. A major part of being human is owning up to your mistakes. If you want to bounce back from a bad reputation, show your human side and admit your mistake.
Whether your tarnished reputation is your fault or not, you need to address the mistake and own up to it. Don’t hesitate when it comes to apologizing to customers and trying to make things right.
Even though owning up to your blunder can be scary (maybe even more frightening than starting your business), it’s the right move to make. It shows people that you’re transparent and want to clean up your mess. Not to mention, owning up to your mistake might even build a stronger customer loyalty than before.
5. Use negative feedback to your advantage
Ah, negative feedback. Sure, you don’t want to see it. After all, who wants to read something that bashes their business? But if you want to restore your reputation, you can’t avoid the bad press. You have to dive into it headfirst and use it to your advantage.
So … how do you use negative feedback to benefit your business?
Well, for starters, you can look at negative feedback as constructive criticism. You can learn from feedback, use it to better your business in the future, and utilize it to bounce back from a bad rap.
While reviewing negative feedback, identify the problems that pop up the most and do what you can to rectify them. Remember to also respond to negative feedback just like you would with positive feedback.
Look at negative feedback as a gateway to making much-needed improvements and a starting point to picking your business back up after you get bad press.
Other tips to keep in mind
When you’re bouncing back from a bad business reputation, there are things you definitely want to do and things you definitely shouldn’t do. Check out a few dos and don’ts of restoring a tarnished reputation:
- Do come up with a game plan
- Do gather as many positive reviews as possible
- Do respond to all comments
- Do learn from your mistakes
- Don’t get defensive when responding to others
- Don’t overreact
- Don’t panic
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help