Reputational crisis – “that’s something that only happens to other businesses – not mine” – a big mistake that many company executives have come to regret over the years.
The issue these days is that reputation goes far beyond customer experience, and it is more and more driven by third parties, perhaps via twitter, thepress, or other customers.
No matter how big or well know your company is, its standing and reputation can be called into question at any moment.
Only recently home furnishings brand Dunelm came under fire for failing to give local people local jobs after the company admitted using agency staff from outside of Staffordshire.
Successful leaders in business across the country, face frequent investigations and proceedings by aggressive prosecutors, government regulators, HMRC as well as from within their own companies.
The glare of unwanted attention from journalists, social media and politicians can quickly turn what seems a local or minor issue into a full-blown crisis.
Meeting these challenges quickly and effectively is critical to defending your business.
A timely and satisfactory outcome to prevent your personal and valuable brand reputation from being tarnished is needed and for this, you’ll need to turn to professional support that can manage the crisis and allow you to get on with the day to day business.
They must have the skills, experience, and know how to be able to tackle to any possible issueswithout delay, to preserve the good reputation of your business and its workforce.
Business continuity planning is essential
Thinking that a crisis isn’t going to come banging on your door is an unwise strategy and putting plans in place to protect the company that you’ve spent years building from scratch is a must have.
Any conscientious business executives will ensure its company has a disaster recovery plan encompassing a wide range of potential damaging issues and looking after your business reputation should be high on that list.
Successful reputational strategies should be designed, tested, and documented before a crisis occurs, simply surveying customers, investors or other business partners isn’t sufficient.
If you get to the stage where customers are ranting on social media or that investors start to worry, it is too late – firefighting after the event can be a long and painful task, potentially leaving your reputation in tatters for many years to come.
Common business research tools such as customer feedback and focus groups can only measure the damage – they don’t help you prevent the potentially crippling issues the first place.
Proactive reputation management can’t exist without quality intelligence, including the recognition of early warning signs – sometimes as simple as monitoring the noise on social media.
Resolving matters privately and discreetly is often the best way to preserve business reputation.
Sometimes this will be achieved by quiet negotiation without the outside world getting a whiff of any issues, however on other occasions it may be necessary for your legal team to pursue matters through the courts.