Reputation in business is everything. Without a good reputation, your customers won’t come back for more, and it’s always easier (and cheaper) to retain your current customers than continually find new ones. A Brand is difficult to build however and very easy to lose, particularly when reviews can be written about a company very quickly and easily, with a lot of control of this outside the enterprise’s control.

When a crisis hits a company, it can be easy to lose your head about the next steps to take. What if small business and you have lost your biggest customer? What if a terrible review was was written on your social media account, and it’s driving away business? You may notice in 2017, that the examples I just gave are all to do with the online world. Although a brand will not just be built around the internet, the vast majority of it is now ruined by the internet. However, the internet can also solve just as many problems as it can cause.

As well as owning your own social media platforms, it is always important to make sure you’re on top of your inline channel too and own the URL of the business. So many business owners, including me, have founded a company, registered the company name, designed the logo… and get to the URL and realise… it’s not for sale. When you do have your website however, posting information on your website is a great way to communicate with your client in times of crisis, as long as it’s made clear. Nobody wants to visit your site and be bombarded with information that is a) out of date b) not relevant.

When it comes to reputation management, planning is crucial. You want to make sure that you know how you will respond when a crisis hits. If you work in a company that sells only online, what’s the plan when your website goes down and people and waiting to pay? Have you got a system in place that will notify your customer’s automatically if the site is down? Planning in business is crucial and must NEVER be overlooked.

Your website is basically your shop window as it signifies what kind of company you are. A cluttered and out of date website shows… well… that you’re an out of date and cluttered company. As a virtual window therefore, it is important to have a clear message from the start. Keep it simple. What’s the problem? How are you addressing it? Whilst it can be tempting to dump every piece of information you have on your customer’s lap, it’s better to keep it simple, clear and most importantly, relevant.

Ultimately, in a moment of crisis it’s important to ensure a) you have a plan to deal with a problem b) you keep calm and c) you communicate.