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In a world where businesses are increasingly being held to account for not only their behaviors, but also the actions of their suppliers, associates, and board members, it’s never been more important to act consciously. Unfortunately, office problems can still arise, and it’s now all too easy to find yourself on the wrong end of a reputational crisis.
Whether it happens because an employee bites back at a customer on video, or because an ill-informed member of your team posts something hateful on their personal social media, reputational backlashes are now severe and widespread. They could even spell the end of your company if they’re poorly handled.
This is why modern businesses should always put a reputation management plan in place. But, if you’re really facing public backlash, is there any coming back from it? We think so, but it would mean taking immediate action with tips like the following.
Don’t just say you’re sorry, prove it
Apologising for what’s happened is crucial but, if you’re really in the depths of a reputational crisis, you also need to take action to prove that you’re inciting change. For instance, like Starbucks back in 2018, you could address an employee’s racist comments by announcing that you’re implementing racial bias training. Equally, recovering from associations with, say, a fossil fuel company, might involve an official statement announcing the end of that partnership, as well as making donations to an environmental charity to begin making amends. These steps won’t get you back in good books overnight, but they can start to bridge your reputation a little.
Naturally, you’ll want to hide any inner issues that have led to your reputational damage, but secrets are often where fallouts like these start, so transparency is key moving forward. While you won’t be able to share every detail of, say, what’s happening with an abusive employee who’s currently in the care of a criminal or sexual offence solicitor, you can explain the situation in broad terms, and also state what you’ve done about it. For instance, you can make it clear that you’ve dismissed the person in question, and that the police are handling matters from here.
Photo by Microsoft 365 on Unsplash
Paint a brighter future
The lingering bad taste of a reputational crisis can take a while to clear, especially because of negative reviews and less-than-favorable hashtags. Obviously, you can’t get rid of these, but you can take steps towards drowning them out with more positive things.
Taking this time to focus on things like improved customer services, more ethical practices, top employment processes, and more, can all gradually start to see positive reviews rolling in again. Equally, creating your own informative, useful content, which could even revolve around improvements in light of whatever happened, can see you using backlinks, keywords, and more, to ensure that these posts, rather than those negative reviews or news articles, appear when people search your name.
Whatever the cause, a reputational crisis can leave your business at breaking point. Come back from the brink with these tips.