Every business, no matter the size, has to deal with a spat of bad publicity every now and then. It’s an unfortunate side effect of offering a product or service to consumers — not everyone will be satisfied every time. And that’s okay. What matters the most is the way in which a business handles a negative experience, and what they do to prevent the same mistake from happening again. Marketing isn’t just about ads and slogans, after all. Marketing as well as public relations cover a whole breadth of topics for a brand, managing the public perception of the brand and the viability of its offerings. Because of this importance, business owners should take any sort of negative press or reviews seriously and make an effort to rectify them.
Be Proactive In
Let’s say a customer
facing business has a negative review come in online. The retail store offers
products for customers to purchase both in store and online, and this
particular customer made their purchase in store. The product itself was
damaged upon arrival, and the customer was displeased with how the salesperson
handled the complaint that was made. First off, in any sort of confrontation or
escalation with a customer, everything possible should be done to appease and
defuse the situation before the customer leaves. If they leave disgruntled, the
chances of a negative review spike. So the business must be proactive, actively
working to find a solution that will help solve the problem at hand.
And a level of
investment is required here. An hourly employee who is simply working for a
paycheck may not represent the company in the best light in these situations.
This is an opportunity to educate employees on the importance of empathy,
particularly in customer facing scenarios. Empathy can go a long way to ease
tension and bring an upset customer back down to earth.
Don’t Let the
Same Mistake Happen Twice
Fool me once, shame
on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. The saying is one that most people are
familiar with, dealing with the topic of making mistakes. Mistakes happen. In
any situation in which humans are involved, there are bound to be errors, both
clerical and judgmental.
What matters the most in a situation in which a mistake has been made is what follows. If a customer is unhappy due to poor customer service at a store, the matter should be addressed so that the likelihood of a similar instance happening is lower.
What Does This Mean?
Rather than simply writing up an employee who has received a complaint, it might be more useful to spend time educating and practicing empathy or skills with that employee. This way, he or she is better prepared for the next upset customer. Punishment is not always the sole answer to a mistake. Often, it’s the learning process that can follow that’s more impacting on an employee.
For a larger scale business, dealing with fallout from a public mistake can be taxing, but it must be done correctly. Reviewing policies and procedures can be helpful in the wake of a mistake, in an effort to prevent another incident. Being proactive about this act of company self-awareness will go a long way to ease tensions and help the brand stage a comeback from a dip in reputation.