Bouncing back after a reputational fall

Obviously, on our road to success, there are ups and there are downs. There are shortcuts and there are detours. Here we are: perfectible human beings (rolling the company’s wheels), who make mistakes and there they are, defying us right in our faces: market conditions, external events, disloyal competition, etc. They all actively contribute to our prosperity and achievements in that of slowing us down.

Their first hit?! Our clients’ trust, of course. Reputational damage works all ways — degrades our relationships with different stakeholders and, also, our internal views, identity and approach. It also sets us back strategically, imprinting a lasting impact over a quite large time span. So, with all these negative effects, how do we come back after reputational falls?

Well, let’s take it step by step. We’re reaching four main types of reputational crises.

When we refer to behavioral crisis we talk about those events that center a member’s morals and integrity, such as bribery, theft, tax evasion, etc. Usually, they report the most intense drops at the beginning, but thanks to such a short collective memory, companies tend to half recover in the first six months.

Negative corporate events point out strategic, general spills that also have a moderate bang on reputation. However, since the solution is to quickly adjust the business plan, they are fast to straighten from.

Operational mess-ups tend to take down up to 30% of companies’ share price in the first six months. They affect business core and, frequently, everything needs to be reframe. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so, we guess redeveloping takes time.

Last, but not the least of the shocks, informational attacks have to do with extrinsic events. We send to data crisis — loss of back-up systems, hacks, etc., that have a moderate impact. It does last in time, but with great recovery prospects.

These and other types of accidents, as well, damage reputation through that of destroying confidence. They undermine relationships with all groups of stakeholders and, at the same time, somewhat challenge management and question the firm’s stability. Intrinsic causes tend to take more time to solve than external determined events.

So, what steps do we take to bounce back and how can Best in Test support our endeavors?

Understanding the Situation

A helpful mindset after the crisis breaks is to robotically activate the risk management plans you had already prepared for in the first 48 hours after the outbreak. Also, everyone will want to know what had happened, so you’ll need to bring some pretty effective communication skills to the ground, as well. After that, you can take some time to understand what actually happened.

Tool: A possible action could be doing a PMI Analysis (Plus/Minus/Interesting Analysis). Brainstorm inside key focus groups among customers and employees and come up with a 4 columns table: the positives of what “just” happened, the negatives, the neutral/intriguing/interesting aspects and one more column for core. After writing down all the aspects, rate them in terms of impact or importance and add up the columns. This will help with the main directions of your future strategy — build on it or lick the wounds?

How can BiT help? BiT can be of support in gathering qualitative information from your certified clients. You will be sure of the accuracy of the situation you’re at.

Rebuilding Relationships

Right after a precise analysis of the context and its depth, you’re supposed to regroup. Regaining your clientele’s trust is the beginning of an intense era for you.

How to do it?

  • Check into the legal aspects to see whether your reputation took the fall based on strong or false premises. If, for instance you’ve suffered from negative, abusive reviews, you can ask the specific websites to remove them.
  • Start reconnecting with strong sites which can give you a boost by promoting your strengths.
  • Answer negative feedback by constructively responding to them. Offer your clients real time solutions to their problems or judgements.

How can BiT help? Bit works great with negative reviews since it offers 14 days before publishing an opinion so that you could understand what your customers are complaining about and, afterwards, explain it had been possible and decide upon future actions.

The Humpty Dumpty Phase

This has to be the toughest of all recovering phases, for it takes time and brings out company resilience, testing endurance at the same time. Reputation is like Humpty Dumpty.

What to do?

Well, as for individuals, rebuilding trust takes time and reproving honesty over and over again. So, your mantra during the Humpty Dumpty Phase could sound similar to “Be an open book!”. Let your audience know every step you take — tell them about what you’re going to do, do it and describe how it feels and, at the end, tell them how it was and what you’ve learnt from the process. Keep your audience alert and involved. And, evidently, take time to rebuild.

How can BiT help?

With the help of its built in app, it keeps you close and friendly to your customers with a special twist of no-spam!

Reframing

Reframing refers to getting to the resolution of this battle, thus, having developed a new action plan to follow.

What to do?

You can approach this last sequence both intensively and extensively. Intensively, your focus now rests on your business identity. You’re supposed to ensure an ethical culture that takes its support from a committed leadership body. Extensively, you could somehow quantify future reputational risk by conducting, analyzing and assembling as many scenarios as possible.

How can BiT help?

Try it in your own company. Get leadership feedback from it. Taste the wonders it doe for your own clients. All this internal overview will help tremendously in reframing yourself as a new born firm and it will also remind you of the strengths, resources and capabilities you can build on in your scenario planning.

If you want to rationally respond to whatever type of crisis you tackle, you’re supposed to be aware of its inside effects. Challenges like these have a pretty high “un-expectancy rate”, so this is why after understanding, recovering by firstly rebuilding previous relationships and secondly your strategic plan and solving the incident, it’s better if you generate possible future realities. Fooled me once, shame on you; fooled me twice, shame on me, right?!

But the strongest conclusion here is that BiT is a tool supporting both your inner and external reconstruction. It offers important insight and, at the same time, helps with getting you back in the game, close to your tribe engaging and ensuring them they can trust you again.


Best in Test is is a plug & play review, testimonial and survey tool for any kind of business. While you are reading this, why don’t you try it for free here?