Mistakes happen, that’s simply a fact of life, whether personal or professional. But a big mistake can seriously damage your reputation, sparking negative online comments or reviews that can quickly spread and cause even more harm.
What’s important is what you choose to do about it and how. Move forward in the right way and you can bounce back from a setback, rebuilding your brand and consumer trust in the process. Here are some tips:
Don’t dwell on the past
The worst thing you can do after you, or your brand, has made a mistake is to dwell on it. Instead you need to take action, and swiftly because the longer you wait to respond the worse the negativity surrounding it will be. Many customers, for example, turn to Twitter to voice their opinions or issues publically, so make social customer service a priority. According to Sprout Social 45 per cent of customers share negative reviews on social media, and only 30 per cent share positive reviews.
The best way to bounce back, and take control of the situation is to be open and honest about what happened. Set the record straight with your employees, stakeholders, customers and the public and be prepared to answer their questions.
Don’t make excuses
Turn your mistake into an opportunity to enhance your personal brand. Don’t try to make excuses – acknowledge the mistake was your fault and be clear and direct about it. People love doing business with open and honest people, but they often respond poorly when you don’t apologise.
Keep moving forward
As you work to rebuild your brand, take stock of what went wrong, learn from it and start again.
Show people what you’re good at
Take the opportunity to promote all of the other things that make your brand great – push the positives, be bigger, bolder, better and strive to be excellent in other ways.
Make up for it
If you were at fault it’s important to admit it – but you’ll also gain more by going above and beyond. Correct the mistake – and then go one better – whether that’s giving customers a discount, incentive or getting involved in a community project.
Monitor your online reputation
Although some people will accept an apology, others won’t and they could be trashing your business online. Take the time to monitor social media and the press for anything negative – for example you can set up Google Alerts to monitor for brand mentions – and you can then respond in a timely and positive way. Always be constructive rather than defensive.
Give brand ambassadors a voice
Ask your employees and customers to tell you, and others, through social media comments and review sites such as Trip Advisor and Trust Pilot, what they like about your brand and why. Ask them what makes your brand unique and why they want to work for, or with, your brand.
Use these recommendations to champion what you do best and capitalise on it. By seeing what brand ambassadors can do for you, you can enhance your reputation management strategy, by emphasising what makes your brand appealing to consumers.
Redefine your brand
Update all of your social media accounts and optimise them – find ways to rebuild positive page one rankings so that yours is the first brand they see, and trust.
Remind people what you stand for
Take an honest look at the direction you are travelling in. Remind or change what you stand for and keep it front of mind as you move forward.
People see through excuses and they don’t trust them so, to avoid further tarnishing your reputation, be consistent and be yourself without any spin.