|Dealing with online reputation crisis|
It is essential that you prepare and enact an integrated, timely response to every situation that could give rise to reputational damage of your organisation.
Every organisation ought to have in place a bespoke methodology that will most effectively deal with its specific requirements.
Unexpected dissemination of information, true or false, often finds a company unprepared. The lack of a proper, coordinated response often results in rapid aggravation of the crisis. Speed is essential when responding to false allegations on the internet or to unwanted disclosures on the web. But even more important is the nature of the response, in both tone and substance.
Integrated response to online reputation crisis
During normal times, the sales department will be handling sales, the support department will be handling customers’ technical issues, and the information technology or marketing department will be handling the company’s blogs, social networking sites, and so on.
But a crisis involving online defamation or the publishing of undesirable information over the internet requires a highly co-ordinated approach by all of these people.
Timely response not driven by panic
Your organisation needs to establish a time frame to deal with the internet reputation crisis. You cannot afford to let a bad story run for days, weeks, months, or years.
A story that does not go away within days or weeks is likely to stay on and increase in traffic over time. All the departments and all the individuals in your organisation need to make a concerted effort to resolve the crisis within a short time frame.
At the same time you must not react under panic. Your immediate response to the crisis will shape the discussion which will follow and perhaps will also determine the outcome of the crisis.
Some companies never recover from online reputation crisis, others move on swiftly - in most cases what makes the difference is the nature and speed of the initial response.
Tactical response enhances trust
Trust being the commodity of the day during internet reputation crisis is all too important to maintain, enhance and recreate. Avoid taking the view that internet reputation crisis management is all about saving the face of your company. Instead, focus on communicating your position in a way that builds trust in your organisation. Remember, people understand that we all sometimes make mistakes. What your customers will not forgive is a perception that you dodge the real issues or do not fully acknowledge their concerns.
For more information on dealing with online reputation crisis including case studies visit our website Online reputation crisis management.
Author: Yair Cohen