Say you’re sorry
FACED WITH an image or “reputation management” problem, many big corporations adopt an attitude of lordly superiority, refusing to respond to, or even acknowledge negative publicity.
But according to Rob Stokes, founder of Quirk, a full-service e-marketing agency, this is the worst thing you can do. Take Dell, the online computer marketer. “Two or three years ago a blogger started writing about negative experiences with Dell service,” says Stokes. “For two years Dell ignored him, while its stock price took a tumble, costing Dell millions of dollars in bad reputation. They have now started listening to people, not putting their heads in the sand. By listening, responding and apologising, you turn a negative perception into a far stronger positive. It’s so easy to disarm a disgruntled customer if you just say I’m sorry, just look them in the eye and apologise.”
The ubiquity and speed of Internet communication have put a premium on online reputation management, says Stokes. “You’ve got to be concerned about reputation. You can never control it, but you can manage it.
“The medium lends itself to accurate tracking of mentions of a company and its senior executives. One brand we handle gets five times as many mentions online as offline. Online consumers have a voice. Offline don’t.”
Now 12 years old, Quirk started with email marketing. “Now we’ll do whatever it takes to build brands and drive business online.”
It’s easy to
disarm a disgruntled customer if
you just say sorry. Rob Stokes