Your reputation as a business is so important. Consumers don’t make their purchasing decisions based on the product alone. They want to be sure that they’re giving their money to a company that is responsible and operates within the law. That’s why scandals are so damaging to a business. For example, if you heard that a load of people got food poisoning from your favourite restaurant, are you going to eat there again? Probably not. Some of the biggest companies in the world have failed because they’ve been embroiled in a massive scandal. But at the same time, there are plenty of businesses that have been in hot water and come out the other side just as profitable as ever. Obviously, it’s important that you avoid scandals in the first place but sometimes that isn’t possible. If it does happen, the way that you deal with it is so important. If you find your business in the midst of a scandal at some point, here’s how to limit the damage and deal with it.
If something comes out about your company that is less than ideal, the worst thing that you can do is bury your head in the sand. If you just try to deny that there’s an issue, you’re just going to come out looking worse. That’s why it’s important that you act fast and release a statement of some kind straight away. You’re not going to be able to clear up the situation immediately and there are a lot of other steps that you need to take further down the line, but for now it’s important that you just acknowledge that there is a problem and let your customers know that you’re working to resolve it. Not saying anything is definitely the worst thing that you can do.
However, you’ve got to be careful about what you do say because you don’t want to put your foot in it and make things worse. At this point, you’ll probably be scrambling to work out what you’re going to do to resolve this problem so don’t give any firm details just yet.
Apologize If Necessary
If your company has done something wrong, the first thing that your customers will expect is an apology. Sometimes, an apology is the right thing to do but sometimes it isn’t. If your company is genuinely in the wrong then you need to apologize. But if the scandal is the result of a misunderstanding of some kind and you haven’t actually been involved in any foul play, apologizing is only going to make you look guilty when you aren’t. If an apology is necessary then you should be forthcoming with it but if you haven’t done anything wrong, don’t apologize for the sake of it.
Control The Online Story
When there’s a big scandal, it’ll spread like wildfire on the internet. You need to control that narrative before somebody else does. You might think that the best thing to do is ignore any of the online comments so you don’t make things worse but that isn’t always a sensible course of action. It’s likely that things will be blown out of proportion because social media is like a big game of chinese whispers so it’s better to answer any comments and clarify the real story so people are making judgments about your company based on the facts.
It’s also a good idea to manage the articles that are posted online about the company. When people Google your company name, you don’t want the first page of results to all be bad stuff about you. But there are companies that can help you remove search results so your website and the positive things about your company appear first, rather than all of the negative press. It’s so easy for potential customers to do a quick online search for your business so it’s essential that you’re managing the online story properly so nobody else will.
Set Out A Plan Of Action
Those first 3 steps are just for buying yourself time and limiting the damage to your company while you come up with a plan. Now that you’ve started to get the story under control a little, it’s time to come up with a plan of action. Consumers don’t want empty sentiments and apologies from you, they want action. If you just apologize and move on, you’re not going to get any of your customers back when the scandal is over.
It all depends on your personal situation but you need to come up with a plan for how you’re going to solve this situation and move past it. In a lot of cases, if a particular person is to blame for the issue, it’s best to let them go and find a replacement. If the problem is with your manufacturing process, you need to make big changes to it. Whatever the cause of the scandal, you need to take concrete steps to fix it and, most importantly, let your customers know what steps you’re taking.
Improve Your Public Image
Once the scandal has passed, you need to start winning back your customers again. The easiest way to do that is to improve your public image and show people that you’re a responsible company that tries to do the right thing. There are a couple of ways that you can win the favour of consumers again. First off, you should take steps to make your business greener. This is such an important consideration for a lot of consumers these days and if you can show that you’re trying to make an effort to reduce your impact on the environment you’ll be able to boost your sales.
You can also win favour from the local community by partnering with local charities. If you donate some of your profits to a local cause by way of an apology for the scandal that you’re involved in, it shows your customers that you’re serious about making amends and moving forward in a positive way.
When your business is involved in a scandal, it’s easy to panic and do the wrong thing. But if you just take these steps, your company can survive it.