How to change the negative image of the company on the Internet?
Nowadays, it is difficult to imagine a thriving company without its online activity. Trade and service companies, the IT industry and information services, apart from presenting their key services on the Internet, have long been paying attention to relations with customers, observers and even competitors. However, it should be remembered that nothing is lost on the Internet and every activity of the company - especially the negative one - is remembered at least until it is explained. Sometimes the disgust remains long after the problem has been resolved. A large number of employees or tasks to be performed often lead to - often unaware - errors that have a negative impact on the company's image on the web. On the other hand, as we will show with the examples, many of them were triggered at their own request. So how to deal with this problem in crisis situations?
Image of the company on the web - deliberately misleading customers
Misleading customers is a common mistake. Telecommunications companies are usually in the lead here, offering various promotions for their services, adorned with the eye-catching term "free". It is no coincidence that in the list of the most popular Polish fanpages, according to SCTrader, the top ten included, among others, Play, Orange Polska and Plus. Their popularity results from the regular reporting of problems and criticism of the selected operator by dissatisfied subscribers. What counts here is the speed of action, because even a few minutes of waiting for an urgent response can contribute to a change of service provider. for the average user, solve the problem so that it will also help other observers in the future, and although it seems obvious, in practice it does not always translate into a positive result.
However, how to behave in a situation where the fault is clearly on our side and despite the convening of the crisis team, we are not able to correct the situation? While this is difficult for most people, the best solution in this case is a formal apology and an admission of mistake. Everyone has the right to be wrong as long as they learn from it for the future. This rule also applies to companies. However, one should remember not to delay the decision and go into constraint, as the consequences may lead to the loss of trust, which can make it much more difficult to fight the negative image of the company on the Internet.
Don Mattrick, president of Microsoft's US interactive entertainment division, gave a number of controversial interviews prior to the launch of the latest Xbox One console, which requires a network connection. In one of the statements, when answering the question: "what about people who do not have access to the Internet?", Without hesitation, he stated that "everyone uses the Internet, and in exceptional circumstances, you should buy an Xbox 360" (a device of the previous generation of Microsoft, present on the market for several years). One statement recorded and published on the web was enough to announce Mattric's removal from the CEO position after a few days, although the official reason for leaving is related to the change of the company.
Nevertheless, a loud case was the fusion of two Polish digital platforms, namely Canal + and N. The result was the creation of the NC + platform. The network was in a hurry at the end of March, when NC + digital television did not inform customers in advance about the changes. The result of this action was not only a weaker offer, but also higher prices of the available packages. However, this is not the end, because just a few days after the first wave of criticism on the Internet, Facebook users have additionally set up an anti-fanpage called AntyNC +, which has been liked by over 92,000 people so far. Despite all efforts on the part of NC +, the negative image of the company is still in the minds of Poles. And although the combination of two proven brands was to guarantee the takeover of the leader, the largest competitor, Cyfrowy Polsat, still lacks over 1.5 million customers.
However, the described situations do not occur so often and usually concern enterprises selling goods or services to a large number of customers. It should be emphasized that the cases so far resulted directly from the response to the discussed problem. It turns out, however, that disloyal employees can cause us much more trouble.
Take care of employees!
The key issue in the fight against a negative image on the Internet is to take care not only of the goods or services, but most of all of our employees. It should be remembered that they are the ones who know the rules of the company's operation best and can change the employer at any time. If the relations with employees are successful until the end of the cooperation, even in the case of a transition to competition, a satisfied employee will have fond memories of us. It has been known for a long time that word of mouth marketing achieves better results than many planned advertising campaigns. Therefore, it is worth not only maintaining positive relations with employees, but also sending them to training or organizing integration events - in this situation, you can risk a statement that the employee is also our client (and not necessarily because when working at company X, he uses its services) .
Inadvertent errors on the part of employees
Worse is the situation when employed through his recklessness inadvertently weakens our reputation. The most common mistake is to connect a private account on websites such as Facebook or Google Plus with a work account, when next to serious statements about the company or its products, you can see, for example, photos from a home party. Sometimes it is enough for an employee to like a negative entry referring to his place of work on the global board and may already cause outrage among both clients and employers - such situations in Poland often ended with the dismissal of not fully aware employees. It is worth discussing this topic with employees before they start work, if we plan to entrust them with the duties of responding to customer needs.
Mailing supports the company's image on the web
Since we are talking about not entirely conscious mistakes, you should pay special attention to mailing. It is important to first give users the option to choose whether they want to receive the regular newsletter. However, it should be specified in a visible place or reminded via a mailbox of such eventuality. The form and the content conveyed are no less important, because on the one hand, we can make a negative impression on Google, and on the other hand, the constantly repeated content encouraging to take advantage of the new offer will scare the customer away rather than attract him.
The image of the company and integration with the team
Working conditions should allow not only the development of employees, but also integration in the team. Presenting employees on the company's website, running a corporate blog, regularly informing clients about team-building trips or special events, and even capturing past events in joint photos. These activities will not only increase employee motivation, but also have a positive impact on the perception of the company from the outside, which can significantly help in the future when it comes to the negative image of the company. It is also worth engaging your employees to speak on behalf of the company, but not necessarily on business matters. Such an approach will mean that in the eyes of potential customers, our company will not be perceived as trying to build positive PR by force. At the same time, it will facilitate the fight against the negative image of the company in the event of any problems.
Company image - competition
While the most important thing is the development of our own company and relationships with customers who have placed their trust in us, the competition should not be ignored in all this. Regular observations, learning from the mistakes of others, and even partner cooperation, in the eyes of people interested in our product or service, can significantly reduce the negative image of the company on the web.