In Feb-Mar 2019, Kenyan women were up in arms against the quality of Always Pads that were manufactured and distributed by Proctor and Gamble (P&G).
Through the hashtag #MyAlwaysExperience, the women vented their frustrations and experiences. They raised concerns over the quality of the sanitary pads that were being sold in the country.
A few months before this, Bidco Africa released an ad video for its new product Jooz Juice that was themed on the idea of terror, when the country had just experienced one of its most deadly terror attacks that left dozens of people dead.
Kenyans felt that the timing of this ad was just not right and in poor taste because the country was still absorbing the shock and loss of loved ones through terrorism.
The two examples above show us that any company can fall from grace in the eyes of its customers. Despite suffering significant reputational setbacks, many companies have managed to put things straight.
Here are some of the golden rules to follow when getting back on track.
1. Take responsibility
Bidco Africa, after getting some serious backlash from consumers, apologized on Twitter and pulled down their Instagram ad immediately. Part of their tweet read, "As a Kenyan company we stand in solidarity with all Kenyans and remain committed to delivering products that reflect the values and aspirations of all Kenyans."
You must show your customers that you know exactly what the mistake was and make it clear on what you are going to do about this mistake. Do not be defensive, make excuses or blame others. Demonstrate that you understand the emotional damage that this mistake has brought and reassure your customers that you take this mistake seriously.
2. Monitor the brand
You should proactively monitor your company's reputation through online and media sources. Look out for the red flags. This will help you unearth and respond quickly to different conversations emanating from the company mistakes. Once you get a detailed overview of your brand's perception, you will be able to clearly strategize on what steps to take in order to regain your consumer's trust and loyalty. Monitor negative feedback and social media mentions then deal with them professionally.
3. Do not delete negative reviews
It is very easy to quickly delete negative comments after an incident. My advise is resist the urge to do so because sometimes negative reviews can actually help, not harm your business.
By deletion, you may be making a mountain out of a mole hill. Here's an example, if someone made a negative comment about an incident and he noticed that you deleted his comment, he may get pissed off and start a tweet war or write a blog post or comment on Facebook about how you deleted and blocked him. Trust me, this will only fuel the fire that you were hoping to put out.
Take negative reviews as a chance to change the conversation and show off your customer service. This shows everyone looking how much you care about your customers and the lengths you’ll go to right a bad situation.
Engage in regular and transparent communication with your stakeholders, employees and customers. Have your sales, customer care or marketing team respond to comments and assure people that you’re doing everything to rectify the problems at hand. Do not use corporate jargon when communicating, be "as human" as you can possibly be.
Your CEO or other credible spokesman must be able to say, “We’re truly sorry,” in a way that consumers find acceptable. You can go ahead and create blog post contents that will highlight positive news and share this on your social media pages, your website and also email to your customers.
5. Positive Reviews
Staying afloat in a flood of negative energy after a company has blundered is not an easy task. Anyone searching Google for information about an organization after a crisis will encounter negative stories first.
Displace negative content and promote positive news. Use testimonials and encourage loyal customers to speak positively about your brand. Do everything possible to raise positive stories in your search-engine results page.
In today’s world, nothing is more important to a company’s health than managing your brand’s reputation. Rebuilding a damaged corporate reputation is no easy feat, but it can be done.
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