The internet has changed the way men and women spend their money. Consumers have more options than ever before. As a result, any company facing a crisis must work to fix its image quickly. A failure to do so could lead to the business closing forever. What steps should a company take during a crisis to repair its brand image?
Don’t assume the problem will simply blow over. Take action quickly to counteract the crisis. For instance, if the CEO of the company is suspected of embezzling client funds, don’t leave him or her in place until an investigation has been completed. Suspend this individual for the time being to allow the investigation to move forward. This shows clients the company is protecting their money while taking steps to determine what happened, when, why, and who was at fault. If other people were possibly involved, suspend them as well until the matter has been resolved. Taking this step demonstrates the company is willing to go above and beyond what is absolutely necessary to put clients first. If help is needed in this type of situation, determine the business PR needs and call on an outside company for assistance.
Think Like the Customer
Look at the situation from the customer’s viewpoint. What does he or she want to know at this time? It may be that consumers want to know the company truly does care about its customers or they might wish to know they will receive the orders they paid for. Whatever it is that is being said about the company, attack this perception from the customer side. However, be honest at all times. Admit any prior shortcomings and explain how they will be avoided in the future. Honesty and transparency are essential during a time of crisis, as no consumer wants to fall victim to a coverup. Any that do so will never trust the company again.
Communicate with the Public
Although it would be nice to hide one’s head in the sand and hope the public forgets about the crisis quickly, this should never be done. Communication is key at this time because consumers want to know what steps are being taken to resolve the matter. If a business owner hides, the public may assume the problem is simply being swept under the rug and a similar situation could arise in the future. To avoid being caught up in a similar problem, a consumer may choose to purchase elsewhere. A significant loss of customers could lead to the business closing, which is why communication is key at this time. Keep in mind that all communications should be completely truthful, as mentioned above, for the best outcome.
Ask for Feedback
Engage with the target audience to determine what they would like to see happen in the specific situation being faced. What would make them more comfortable dealing with the company again in the future? Businesses that do this show they care what their audience thinks, which is of great importance during a crisis. Admit mistakes have been made and ask for help in avoiding them in the future. The audience will respond accordingly. Although some people will have nothing positive to say about the brand, a company can learn from this feedback as well. It’s simply a matter of knowing which information is being presented out of spite and which will truly be helpful.
Follow the above steps when your company is in a crisis. Doing so can help to repair the brand image and ensure a minimal loss of customers. Don’t hesitate to seek outside help if it is needed. This is your livelihood at stake, so take whatever action is necessary to ensure it continues long after the crisis passes. This may require outside help.