Not always a good attack is the best defence, or is it? In a reputation crisis case, there are a few rules regarding to how we behave in the network and how the users detect it, in the way that they accept our actions or deteriorate their perception of our company. How could we defend our business against a brand reputation attack without affecting us? How could we improve our business perception?
The importance of the internet review for our brand reputation
First of all we should understand the importance of an online review for our business. It is vital to become aware of how a bad review could disturb the perception of a brand and furthermore learn to neutralize the attack.
For that purpose, it is very important to take action accordingly to our business nature. As an example could be hospitality (restaurants, hotels,..) which offer a very personal attention and the services provided are the base of the business.
This group, has a high level of exposure and it needs to have a manual to help in any case of reputation crisis, guiding how to act in the case of a brand attack and use them at the moment of any sign of incursion.
The main reason is that the effect that a bad review could have when we want to attract new customers. According to Global Trust In Advertising study, conducted by Nielsen, the 92% of respondents tend to follow family and friends opinions and in second place, 70% of interviewees, take a decision after reading other consumers reviews.
That means that as a company, having positive reviews in the internet is an amazing advertisement, while having poor opinions invalidate all the network presence to attract new customers.
Steps to defend our brand in case of a reputation attack
Difference between attack and review
Is not the same a brand reputation attack, than a review. It is important to reveal if the comment or comments which could begin a possible case of an online reputation crisis, are real or are merely defamation.
In case of real opinions, we have to make sure that we follow the most important rule of a business man, the customer always is right. So we will have to get ready a response which we could use to soothe the opinions and show a transparent image, active listening and caring about the consumer satisfaction.
In case of defamation, normally are coming through “trolls users”, the competency o previous users that aren’t happy, is not very convenient to play their game, the best thing to do is demonstrate to the rest of the community the reason of the situation or even bring on the emergency plan that will be detailed at the end of this article.
No matter the type of review, we should approach the situation, perhaps talking to the concerned person or address to the community explaining the circumstances.
It is very important that when responding, make sure to be calmed, have studied the situation and the consequences. Answering at the moments and without thinking normally makes the opposite effect, aggravating the situation.
In this sense, assertiveness is the best possible technique, answering in an empathetic way and offering solutions at the same time that explaining the situation.
ASSERTIVENESS: is a skill regularly referred in social and communication skills training. Being assertive means being able to stand up for your own or other people’s rights in a calm and positive way, without being either aggressive, or passively accepting ‘wrong’.
Clean all the traces
Unless is a very urgent case, the most important thing isn´t to delete the negative comments. We need to be focus on solving the crisis and let people know that it was produce for an unjustified reason and that the effects of it aren´t the real reflection of the brand image.
A reputation crisis just happens when is very visible, that’s the reason why it is very important once it is solved make sure no one can see it.
Create a good reputation
If someone is looking for our services and in the first instances finds a negative result, is not going to cause the best impression, they actually will think that it could be something will happen to them.
For that reason, once the crisis is solved, we should worry about the main results we could find when we search for our brand, make sure that are positive ones. How we achieve this? Creating new content, interesting and related material, etc.. that will make send the negative findings leave the first results of the search engine.
An analogy that how this process goes between the “real” and “virtual” world is compared to when we get a big graffiti in our shop door. Would you be just happy cleaning it up and leave the proof that something was there before? Or instead, would you like to re-paint again the whole door to make it look better? With an online reputation crisis happens the same: you could simply shooth them or benefit from it to improve your online image.
Emergency routes for a brand reputation attack
In any online reputation crisis manual should have a Plan B: a list of actions to take in an emergency case to stop the problem without spreading it.
This is very important, since a wrong management of a reputation crisis could suppose a bigger crisis of our brand reputation.
The following actions will be required:
- Deleted the comment or block the user: this type of approach could be done just if we manage the account where it happened the attack and is the last resource. We will always have to explain the reasons very carefully to the community. If we don’t do it properly it could be unsafe for the company because the users could get a wrong image of our actions.
- Legal Actions: this option is in case of not being able to deleted the problem; perhaps because we aren’t the managers of the account o because the moderator doesn’t want to cooperate. It will be essential to have everything justified. Also we can make use of the “the right to be forgotten” law.
WE INSIST: it is very important that if you got to the point when you aren´t able to handle the situation, it is recommended to contact with a professional; they will know exactly what to do to fix the problem