When you launch a business, your company’s reputation is kind of like the pristine snow at the top of a steep, beautiful mountain – it’s all smooth and glistening and free of dirt.
But then a careless skier or snowmobiler comes along and carves ruts into the snow, leaving behind a scarred landscape that’s really tough to repair.
In some cases, this unthinking individual triggers a landslide that starts slowly, but gains momentum fast. Before you know it, your company’s reputation is plunging downhill and quickly roars out of control.
Unless you police the top of your mountain regularly – and have safety procedures in place early – you run the risk of losing your innocence really fast. And, once it’s gone, your business reputation is hard to get back.
A friend of mine once told me how his company, a dieting website, had discovered a series of negative food reviews on a third-party website. By the time this trash talk was discovered, it had grown into a substantial string of rambling complaints. Company officials rallied and decided to fight fire with fire.
The company’s social media director reached out to a dozen or so existing customers and asked each of them to write about their experiences with the company. Many of these customers – satisfied with the dieting website – responded to the request, posting their positive reviews on the site where the negative feedback had originally erupted.