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How Will Your Small Business Recover from Negative Publicity?
by Dave Thomas Mon, 11/07/2011 - 10:44
It just takes that one negative review for the entire world to see and next thing you know, your company is fighting the public relations battle of its life.
For many companies, this scenario will actually become a reality at some point and time; it is how they handle it that will determine whether or not there is any negative fallout for the business.
Negativity towards a business comes in all shapes and sizes, including a disgruntled customer who felt they received less than stellar customer service, a customer who was not happy with a product, and the competition saying untrue things about your small business.
In the event you find yourself in this position at some point and time as a small business owner, among the things to help negate the problem are:
- Having a plan ready to go - Inevitably someone is going to be unhappy with the product and/or service you provide. Make sure that your company has prepared a plan ahead of time of how it will respond to the matter. Being caught off guard is not only unproductive but also embarrassing;
- Rehearse the different scenarios – While you cannot live on the edge that someone is always going to come after you and your company, preparation as noted above is important. Do some trial runs as to how your company would react if someone charged your business with false advertising, negativity towards a customer, product issues, etc. Being prepared doesn’t mean expecting trouble, it just means you’re ready when trouble arises;
- Be ready to handle the press – Especially given the 24/7 Internet age that we live in, business owners need to be ready to defend their products and services when attacked. This includes having plausible and confident responses ready for the press. It isn’t just a world of newspapers and television stations these days, as the Internet allows for much more discussion regarding products and services. It is important to not look like you were caught flat-footed when dealing with a crisis;
- Be up front with your customers – If word gets out that one of your products and/or services is at issue, be sure to not turn a blank eye to the most important people you know, your customers. Your customers will come to you seeking answers, do your best to provide them with that. Saying nothing whether right or wrong gives many the impression that you may be hiding something or are guilty as charged;
- Take notice of others – Other businesses similar in size and product to what you offer have likely gone through such a problem at one time or another. Take a look to see how they handled such matters. Who knows, you may just learn something from them;
- Reward customers who stick with you – Inevitably you will lose some customers when there is a serious issue/concern with your products and/or services. Be sure to reward those customers who stick with you and continue to buy and promote what you offer.
In the end, there will be some customers who you lose that will never come back. The key, however, is hanging on to those who are willing to listen to what you have to say and how you will go about dealing with a problem.
If the word gets out that your small business is having an issue or issues, get on top of the problem before it grows a set of legs of its own.
About the author
Dave Thomas covers consumer and small business topics for various websites, including Ripoffreport.com.