“It takes twenty years to build a good reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”. This sentence by the American philanthropist Warren Buffet can be applied perfectly to a new challenge for companies: image crises on websites and in social networks.
Whether the customer was satisfied with a service or not used to be the only form of expression of the classic service channels and conversations with acquaintances. However, the Internet brought a powerful alternative: the ability to communicate widely and reach an unlimited audience.
While this area can be great for positive feedback, it can snowball in certain situations. For this reason, in this article we will see the main care that your online store must have in terms of online presence.
avoid a crisis
Prepare your team
As the saying goes, “prevention is better than cure”.
Your customer service team must be prepared to spot issues that could escalate into potential crises. Occasional complaints are to be expected and don’t fall into this group, but bad comments or statements from influential people, for example, can cause major headaches.
Ideally, your business should have one Crisis Containment Plan, i.e. a document prepared together with your team with all the procedures to be carried out in the event of a potential crisis. In addition, I asked for the plan to be overseen by professionals specializing in ethical and legal issues.
It is important Maintain a list of common issues and responsible areas of the organization from them so that those responsible for the support know exactly who to contact and what information is needed at the time of performance.
Monitor social media
That is always necessary Keep an eye on what people are saying about your brand on social media. So you have one return message directly and you can anticipate most of the client’s manifestations.
For example, if a user notes that an awkward situation occurs during customer service or is repeated frequently, resolve it before it becomes a direct complaint.
Experts confirm that the UN (United Nations Organization) is able to predict crises in countries up to three months in advance, simply by monitoring what its residents post on social networks. Do you realize how important this is?
Consumers have their own voice and are becoming more aware of it every day. It is important Check all public profiles of your online store dailycheck if there are mentions on Twitter or Instagram, likes on Facebook and even hashtags. Search boxes are always visible, and for good reason.
Another important objective of the constant monitoring of social networks, which is also directly related to the previous preparation of the team, is agility. We already know that this is a key factor in customer service in alternative channels; and even more so in the case of possible crises.
If you receive a message about a problem, check how you can solve it and provide a solution if necessary. act immediately. Even if there is no immediate solution, please reply that you are working on the case and it will be resolved as soon as possible.
In such situations, it is often decided to answer the request later. This is not recommended as waiting does not reassure the customer, it only makes them more impatient.
The brand is in crisis. And now?
Identify the nature of the crisis
The care was not enough and the crisis began? In order to clarify the exact procedure and to prevent a further loss of image of the company, It is necessary to know how to identify the nature of the crisis. Basically there are three: Rumours, Complaints and Challenges.
Rumor crises are probably the easiest to resolve. These are false claims that start circulating about your brand, often from dissatisfied customers or even competitors.
Don’t blame anyone: just devote yourself to resolving the situation and provide data or information that refutes hasty statements.
If the crisis starts from a complaint, try to solve the problem as soon as possible. Try to determine the origin of the matter and explain it to the customer, admit your company’s mistake and apologize. Set a deadline to fix the problem and consider offering compensation, e.g. B. a discount voucher for the next purchase or, if the damage was severe enough, for example, a new product.
Although not that often The third type of crisis relates to the challenges that can be proposed for your brandsuch as B. the inclusion of an essential resource that your product does not already have, or a different attitude towards the environment.
This is a problem for many companies as concerns about the conservation of natural resources and the care of animal species increase. Your company’s values and goals must be aligned with the needs and awareness of customers.
Make your answer visible
At the beginning, as already mentioned, it is important to contact the customer or the person responsible for the beginning of the crisis as quickly as possible in order to solve the problem and put an end to the matter.
To prevent comments about your bad situation from spreading later, it’s important to post your company’s position on the issue in a prominent place that’s easily accessible to the public.
Your brand should never be silent in these situations: Write a statement that gets things straight, without too many details, just the concrete facts and your take on them.
Maintain transparency and amplify the concerns the company has towards customers. Publish the statement on your website and share it on social media.
The golden rule in times of crisis: “Be very calm during this time”. No matter how bad the situation is Acting impulsively or being overcome by fear only makes things worse. It is important to think through every action and, as with any customer service, to maintain a warm and patient atmosphere. You have to be fast without getting desperate.
Also remember that engagement is different from intimidation. when dealing with customers, I conveyed an image of calm and rationality, but never denigrate other opinions involved or behave arrogantly or aggressively. That’s not how you should be perceived by your customers, is it?
I’ve finally learned to listen. Let your audience express themselves and pay attention to what they have to say to you. Listen carefully, show empathy, and only argue what is necessary in your defense.
Know when to end the dialogue on social networks and redirect it to more appropriate places, e.g. B. a forum in your online shop.
Learn from other crises!
We will now see some of these tips in two real cases of well resolved crises. Each company responded in its own way, with different approaches and tones, but always following the basic premises.
Years ago, the Starbucks Argentina Twitter account posted the following message: “We apologize that some stores are using national cups and sleeves due to a temporary stock shortage. Regards”.
Immediately, users of this social network began to talk about the topic and wonder why more national products were not used in Starbucks stores in Argentina. making the matter a real crisis for the company.
That same night, the brand released a new message on both Facebook and Twitter, declaring: “We apologize for the mail this morning. We understand your comments and clarify that we wanted to inform you that we are temporarily using different glasses than usual in some stores. This is due to a stock failure due to an internal planning error. We’re working to keep bringing the best to our fans. We want to be transparent with our community and share every change we make, whether permanent or temporary.”
Even the company’s general manager spoke to some media outlets to clarify and finish the company’s position on the issue, but not without first apologizing again.
On an international level, we can take Zappos’ crisis management as an example.
A few years ago, The shoe store’s website was attacked by hackerfor which the data of millions of customers was stolen.
When the company’s president found out about the matter, he emailed the staff, and they all turned their attention to answering customer questions. Later, this email was sent to the customers and all the brand’s pages were deactivated.
Finally, the traditional service channels were also deactivated, so that support was only focused on the Internet and thus All consumers could be heard and helped.
The Zappos store is also a reference in terms of interacting with the public by looking for one personal and cordial contact. This factor undoubtedly led to the fact that his image was quickly restored.
With these tips, you are well equipped to prevent image crises in your company and you already know how to minimize their effects.
Besides simply dealing with crises, you need to take care of your brand at all times: Concerned about always providing quality service to your customers and strive for excellence in products, customer service and your e-commerce platform.
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