When a major problem occurs that damages your company's image, it’s essential to take control of the situation, according to BrandChannel. Take positive action by acknowledging the problem and apologizing, identifying the cause and communicating the remedial steps your company is taking. By demonstrating that you are listening and responding to the opinions of stakeholders, you can help to restore company image.
Acknowledge the Problem
The first step in restoring your company image is to acknowledge there is a problem. A failure in quality control or a technical issue, for example, may have led to defective products reaching the market. Contact customers pointing out the problem and tell them to return the product for a replacement or book a service call to arrange a repair. Issue a news release and post the same information on your website. Being honest and proactive about the problem helps to rebuild trust in your company. People generally are willing to forgive a company that is honest, according to BrandChannel.
Apologize and Respond to Criticism
Faulty products can give a company a reputation for poor quality, damaging customers’ confidence. This may lead to criticism in the press and negative comments on social media sites as consumers share their concerns with others. Apologize for the problem and respond to social media comments. Building dialog, rather than ignoring criticism, helps to rebuild positive relationships with consumers and the media, a key step in restoring company image.
Identify Causes and Take Action
Preventing a recurrence of the problem is an important step in restoring company image. Identify the cause and take action to improve performance or eliminate the fault. You may, for example, implement new quality-control procedures, recruit additional quality inspectors or invest in automated inspection systems. Let customers know that you have taken action and communicate the changes through the press or social media.
Focus on Building a Stronger Image
After dealing with the immediate image problem, focus on issues that will strengthen your company’s reputation. Forbes notes that stakeholders attach importance to seven key indicators of company performance: product quality, innovation, financial results, citizenship, leadership, workplace and governance.
Make Image a Strategic Priority
Companies with strong reputations are worth as much as 150 percent more than those with low reputations, according to the Reputation Institute. Senior managers must support the improvement program and encourage employees to buy in to the changes. If necessary, hire a public relations firm specializing in reputation management to advise and implement a program to communicate the changes.