How to respond when your reputation is attacked
People are going to complain!
It should not come as a surprise whenever someone complains about your business, brand or service. But how you respond when your online reputation is attacked makes a difference.
Some people are naturally never satisfied and are always looking for an opportunity to attract attention.
With the internet now having an enormous impact on how people interact with each other and how they look for and share information, it’s only a matter of time before someone shares a negative comment on social media or a blog.
If you use an online media monitoring tool such as Trackur, you should know in as little as 30 minutes when someone has commented on your brand.
In the unfortunate event that your business or brand receives negative remarks or reviews online, it’s important that you not only know how to respond but to also know how to effectively execute your Online Reputation Management plan.
With over two billion social media users spread across the major social networks, brands are bound to get their fair share of complaints or bashers along the way. Some of these complaints could be valid while others just from attention seekers who have nothing better to do.
With this in mind, how you and your brand respond to these negative comments or blog posts can result in a complaint getting solved or even removed, versus turning into an online reputation disaster.
How to respond to online attacks effectively
Here are some key steps that will help you effectively respond to online attacks and limit the amount of damage to that great reputation you’ve worked so hard to build.
Identify the source
Try and find out who they are and what they do. Is it a customer who received the wrong order or is it a reporter who got frustrated after attempts to reach your CEO for a comment. This information will form the basis of your follow through steps and help you resolve the situation amicably.
What are the facts
Take time to study the critic’s comments in order to fully understand where they are coming from. Identify the key points being raised and the genesis of the particular issue. It is important to always remain calm while collating this information. The last thing you want to do is to overreact.
What are their demands?
If there are genuine grounds for the negative feedback you should be able to offer compensation to make up for any shortcomings or mistakes.
If the attack is coming from a hater or a troll then they will probably not list their demands. This also means that finding a resolution will not be a walk in the park.
Do they have influence?
At this stage, you need to answer the following questions. How influential are they? How many followers do they have on Twitter or Instagram? How many Likes do they have on their Facebook page?
Understanding how much influence they have online should give you an idea of the impact of any negative comments.
Has the conversation spread?
As soon as you get an idea of the critic’s reach or influence, the next step would be to check if their remarks have had any traction with their respective followers. The higher the level of support for the comment the more critical to respond as quickly as possible.
Ask for advice
Once you understand what the issue is and have drafted a response, it’s always advisable to ask for the opinion of someone you trust. This could be from the company’s legal counsel, a business partner or an industry captain or mentor. This is to make sure that the response is reasonable.
Finally, how should you respond?
Based on all the information you have been able to gather about the critic and their remarks, the last stage is deciding on how or if to respond.
Some negative comments are baseless, hence, you are better off ignoring them. Sometimes a complaint can be resolved with a prompt apology.
Do NOT panic! This goes without saying. Resist any urge to retaliate immediately without assessing the situation. An Online Reputation Management checklist is one way of ensuring that you deal with each situation correctly.