We have heard it over and over again, communication is no longer a one-way street between your brand and your customers. In fact, more often than not, your brand reputation lies in the hands of internet-savvy consumers who will advocate for or against your brand outside the realm of the traditional marketing mix. Marketers must consistently engage these advocates with flexibility and understanding.
If you handle a customer complaint poorly, it can severely hurt your reputation. On the contrary, going above and beyond to amend the situation will give your brand credibility and earn trust. For example, I recently ordered food from Domino's only to find out they don’t deliver to my house, even though they have delivered there in the past. I wrote an email complaining about their inconsistent service and expressed my disappointment. The next day I received anemail apologizing for what happened, the email included an offer for two pizza pies on them. This is an example of a brand that is putting the customer first by making the extra effort to invest in a disappointed customer to keep them loyal.
Another prime example was during the big snowstorm of 2007 that resulted in JetBlue cancelling 1000+ flights. JetBlue was a young company at the time (7 years old), and they knew one mistake could drastically hurt their reputation. The CEO, David Neeleman, decided not to hide from the problem, but address it head-on. He went straight to the press, apologized, and rolled out a “customer bill of rights” as a solution for future problems. This bill of rights gave customers monetary compensation for delayed or cancelled flights. The best part is that he allowed customers who suffered through the snowstorm to benefit from this new bill, even though it was created after the fact. This decision initially cost the company millions, but their efforts to keep their customers loyal and happy went a long way.
Safeguard your brand reputation by educating your employees on how to stay true to your brand values and company mission. Demonstrate that you can consistently be there for your customers and they will reciprocate with kind words and recommendations to friends, family, and the online community.