“In this digital era when every business is thriving for success. Every successful business is swearing by one business mantra that contributed to their success. It is nothing else but digital marketing. Internet is the greatest platform to buy, sell and market your goods. But if not used properly it can even destroy your business. This is where online reputation management comes to our rescue. Online Reputation Management is the process which ensures that people who search about a business online only see the positive things associated with the business. The techniques and strategies of ORM enable the business to take control of the conversation. Proper 0RM can mitigate the effects of misleading trends about the business, create a balance and also helps the business to project their best.
Why is online reputation important?
Statistics from Forrester Research evidently shows that 90% of us trust other people’s opinions and recommendations on everything. The growth of social media has put all of us in a very vulnerable situation where we blindly trust the endorsements and critiques of other internet users. (Beal, n.d.) Therefore anybody can ruin your brand’s online reputation. Anything on the internet stays there and it has great impact on potential customers. So it is important to learn how to build, manage, monitor and repair the brand’s online reputation.
If something goes wrong on the internet and if your brand is facing a potential threat due to the online crisis situation, online reputation management can come to your rescue and save the brand image. The online crisis faced by Dominos Pizza is a great example for this.
Back in 2009, Dominos Pizza (Conover, N.C franchise) had to deal with an online crisis when two of its employees uploaded a video on Youtube. The video clearly showed them mishandling Pizzas in a very unacceptable manner right before delivery. The video went viral and badly effected the brand’s goodwill. Dominos dealt with this crisis by launching a successful communication strategy. They were saved by their loyal customers. At that time Dominos didn’t have a prominent social media presence, so they were not aware of the crisis. It is their loyal fans who brought it to their notice. Dominos took some time to respond to the initial outcries from disturbed customers. This caused more damage as it gave an impression that they did not care about what happened. As realization struck Dominos and they understood that the situation is getting worse day by day, they opened a twitter account to address customer complaints and to inform customers that it was an isolated incident and corrective measures have been taken towards fixing the problem. An important point to be considered is that a social media crisis will not disappear by itself, it will increase with time and will reach a point where it will completely destroy your brand. Dominos set a great example by successfully regaining its reputation after the crisis.
How to recover from an online crisis?
It is always better to design a proactive online reputation system. As we say prevention is always better than cure. But there are several ways in which we can successfully tackle an online crisis.
- Developing loyal followers before the crisis strikes
Developing loyal followers is very important as they can actually lighten the situation by supporting the brand even in crisis situations. This will create a sense of confusion and will give the brand some time to plan a strategy. Loyal customers will immediately notify us whatever that goes wrong.
- Releasing a first response
Releasing the first response to the crisis is very important. This shows how much we care about our customers and value their concerns. Not responding to the situation at the initial stage can cause additional damage to the brand name.
- Addressing customer complaints and concerns
Establish their presence in social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter etc. to address the concerned customers. To reassure the customers about the credibility of your brand and just to show them that you care about their feelings.
- Use loyal customers
Apologize for the mistake however tiny it may sound to you. Seek help from loyal customers to regain trust for the brand by asking them to retweet your corrective tweets. Using your loyal customers to rebuild the lost image is the easiest and most effective way of doing it.
- Releasing an official statement
To regain control of the crisis situation, releasing an official statement conveying the following is very important.
- Use the same channel the crisis broke out on to respond to the crisis.
- Make the defensive video/statement appear as close as possible to the offensive crisis video/statement.
- Be honest and be polite. Apologize sincerely for the damage caused.
- Create awareness among customers about the corrective actions taken towards resolving the crisis.
- Assure the audience that this crisis will never get repeated.
- Provide them proof of taking actions. So it helps them realize how seriously you are treating the problem.(Agnes, 2012)
Ammu Sunaina Hoby
Ammu is a Global Hospitality Business Development student at Seneca College who is working towards becoming a successful hospitality professional.