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Here’s one stat every business owner should know: 45% of people turn away from local businesses because of something they found online. Even a single negative story, when not properly addressed, can scare hundreds or even thousands of prospects away. So let’s discuss the role of public relations in reputation management and how a good P.R. strategy can put you in the online driver’s seat.
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They Do More Than Grand Events and Mega Galas
It’s easy to think that public relations departments are designed only for those moments where you’re preparing to launch a big event. But public relations must play a role when you’re experiencing those dark moments.
Think about what happens if one of your employees gives a poor experience to a customer and that the customer decides to speak out online. Stories like this spread like wildfire.
Public relations must properly address situations like this to limit the overall damage to your brand.
They Restore Credibility Through the Facts
Anyone working for a public relations department needs to understand the value of restoring the credibility of the brand they work for.
The first step is to take the emotional sting out of a story. It’s why you never fight fire with fire when responding to an abusive customer.
The key to success is responding calmly with well-reasoned facts and logical arguments. Regardless of whether you win that customer back, anyone reading the argument will side with you because you’re the calm party.
They Help if You Did Mess Up
Sometimes the facts are staring you in the face and you realize that your company messed up.
Take, for example, the hotel that has bed bugs. The hotel manager can’t spin the story any other way. You have bed bugs and you ruined the experience of your customer.
Public relations, in this scenario, will help you to resolve the situation amicably.
For example, the hotel’s public relations department may turn around and say that they’re offering free nights to all affected guests. It could also involve posting a video of the exterminator cleansing the rooms. The point is you’re showing that you’re making a difference.
Make Public Relations an Integrated Part of Your Brand
The mistake most people make with public relations is not integrating it with the rest of the brand. It’s not something separate from your marketing department.
This should be part of your overall integrated strategy. It’s as much about marketing as it is about customer service.
Changing the way your employees see your public relations department is the first step to real change.
Last Word – Public Relations Can Save Your Reputation
Reputation management will lead to more sales and fewer problems. But you need an integrated strategy entirely focused on ensuring that customers see you in the right light.
You will make mistakes sometimes and not every customer will be happy with your level of service, but it’s how you react to it that counts.
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