Posts Tagged advertising

How To Handle Negative Publicity Gracefully

 Thinking Whether you are just starting out or you've been in business for some time, dealing with bad press can be an emotional roller coaster. With so much emphasis on your business getting the word out about your products and services and building on positive feedback from your strategic business partners and clients, it can be quite a surprise to find yourself instead at the receiving end of bad press.

There are times when strategic business partners or clients may not only be disagreeable about how you do business, but be downright mean and malicious about it. Spreading rumors or bad-mouthing your company can quickly get out of control if the source has connections. It may feel natural to want to come out swinging against the naysayer – but that reaction too is bad for business. You'll only be compounding the problem. Instead you need to get your facts straight and present your retort after much consideration and level-headed thought.

Here are some tips to help keep your cool and combat bad press:

  • Find out exactly what is being passed around. Check out blogs, internet news, forums, and even the human grapevine. Have an understanding of what people are saying before making any decisions. Resist the temptation to start typing back in defense of yourself and your company when doing research. You will end up doing more harm than good and feeling worse about the situation in the long run.
  • Take a time out. Depending on the level of bad press or bad mouthing your company is getting, you need to back off and take a few days to think about the situation clearly. Likely you and your staff will be riled up and ready to fight. In order to really handle the bad press, you need to be cool, calm, and collected. Take your time and prepare yourself to handle the situation with grace.
  • Sit down without distraction and consider your possible responses to bad press. If the rumors are confined to a particular website or blog, think about your rebuttal in the same format. If the bad press is in the news and other mediums, consider a bigger plan. Write out five messages you can send out to the press and internet resources. Include information you want known in a concise manner. Remain positive and resist bad-mouthing any individual or company. You may also want to speak to key people in your industry and ask them to help you put your message out there. If warranted, by speaking out, you will be able to prove credibility in that you have nothing to hide.
  • Carefully review all aspects of the situation to determine if a formal response is the correct action. Sometimes; based upon factors such as the source of the bad press and the source's perception among your colleagues in the industry, a response by your company may be the wrong approach. By responding in some instances, you may be unwittingly fueling a situation that will naturally dissipate on its own. The last thing you want to do is lower your company's perception with others by dignifying bad press with a response, especially if it is obvious to the recipients that it has been circulated maliciously.

There will be times when your bad press comes in the form of customer feedback. It can be easy to dismiss a handful of negative comments, but it would be more effective if you considered all the feedback you receive and what you can do to improve the situation. You may be biased or self-centered enough to think all your business is perfect. That thinking won't increase your business or help reverse negative images people may have of your company. You have got to listen actively to provide the best for your clients.

If you are just starting out in business, this may not be quite as important a lesson as others for you to learn now. But there may be times in the future when your business might take some negative hits in publicity. In order to be prepared to deal with this possibility, make sure you have a firm understanding of your company mission and values when just starting out – and stick to them. It can be very easy for an unfocused company to deteriorate in light of negativity.

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Erick Simpson
MSP University
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Posted in: Marketing

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The Difference Between Customer Service and Exceptional Customer Service

Customer Service Reps Successful businesses are those that understand the need to not only generate a profit, but to also provide quality customer service to ensure customer satisfaction.  Customer service representatives have the important role of creating a positive first impression for prospects and meeting the needs of existing clients.  Businesses that focus on providing exceptional customer service stand apart from their competition.  A recent survey indicates that consumers trust word-of-mouth experiences over advertising - making satisfied customers your number one advertising tool. 

Raise the bar for your customer service representative by implementing the following strategies:

  • Make it part of the culture-  business owners and managers set the tone in the workplace.  Make customer satisfaction a part of the company culture by encouraging and rewarding actions that improve customer satisfaction.
  • Provide proper training-  employees who have direct contact with potential or existing clients must be properly trained for their position, and have the knowledge necessary to answer questions and provide suggestions or solutions to problems.  To ensure your clients always receive top notch service, supervisors should always be present to assist or support trainees.  While most people are understanding and patient when dealing with a new employee, your clients should never feel their businesses are not important enough to warrant professional service.
  • Understand the needs of your clients-  in order to meet the needs of your clients, you must first determine what those needs are.  As their Trusted Advisor and business partner, your clients rely on your expertise to help them figure out what they need to achieve their business goals.  Be certain to conduct quarterly business reviews (QBRs) and talk to your clients and carefully listen to their responses to ensure everyone is on the same page and working toward the same goal.
  • Empower employees to resolve issues-  customer service representatives must have the ability and authority to address problems and offer solutions.  This is one of the areas where proper training pays off. By trusting and empowering your employees to handle situations as they arise, your clients do not have to wait for a resolution.  Problems that are solved quickly and efficiently can easily turn an unhappy client into a satisfied one. 
  • Exceed expectations-  to set your company apart from the competition, find ways to not only meet the expectations of your clients, but to exceed them.  This shows your clients that you appreciate their business and are willing to go the extra mile to ensure their satisfaction - which leaves a positive, lasting impression.

Exceptional customer service is provided by companies that genuinely understand the importance of customer satisfaction.  As a result these companies retain current clients and gain positive word of mouth advertising.  What message are you sending your clients?

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Erick Simpson
MSP University
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Managed Services

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Posted in: General Business

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