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How To Handle A PR Disaster

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Any business at some point, will face some sort of PR crisis and occasionally bad publicity is unavoidable.

How you respond can either turn this into a much-needed image boost or significantly damage your brand.

Having an online presence is a cost-effective way to get more sales. However, having this presence does leave your business open to a higher risk of receiving both positive and negative reviews.

If your business is consumer facing, then you will more likely than not, be faced with customers leaving reviews and unfortunately there is a small group of individuals that take advantage of this.

Some may leave an unfavourable review, one that you feel could affect future business. Although it may be tempting to angrily reply; the trick to turning this bad PR round is all about how you handle the situation.

Some platforms such as Google reviews, won’t let you remove reviews. You can however report a negative comment, though it is at Google’s discretion as to whether it is removed. Usually Google will only remove the comment if it is seen as offensive i.e. using bad language, off topic or offensive. Google unfortunately doesn’t remove negative reviews as it deems this as deceptive to the end user.

So, what can you do to reply to any negativity faced online?

Here are our 7 golden rules on how to deal with negative reviews/comments:

  • First Seek To understand The Situation- Aim to understand all the details and even if you’re still assessing it all, let the customer know what is happening. This goes a long way as it shows you are dealing with the matter.
  • Be Transparent and Be Accountable- Acknowledge the situation, accept responsibility then apologise.
  • Be Prepared To Say You Are Sorry- If you have genuinely made a mistake then an apology can go a long way.
  • Take Quick Action- But don’t reply in the heat of the moment, take emotion out of the equation with an aim to resolve the matter quickly.
  • Don’t Have A Public Argument- This can prove detrimental to your business, it doesn’t look professional.
  • Be Polite- This can work wonders to calm the situation, be sincere and listen.
  • Counter Inaccuracies- Use facts, not emotion to demonstrate any inaccuracies.
  • Take It Offline- As soon as you can get the conversation off a public platform, ask them for their contact details and speak to them directly.

In the event that your business is faced with negative comments, are you confident you could handle it? Do you have a system in place to deal with this type or PR? No one wants to be at the centre of a PR scandal but if you are, then not knowing how you would handle it could make things go from bad to worse.

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