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3 Tips for Turning Bad Press into Good Public Relations Opportunities

The classic saying goes, “There is no such thing as bad publicity.” But this is not really the case. If you or your company are being maligned — fairly or unfairly — in the press and social media, it can definitely damage your business and reputation.

If you find that you or your company is suddenly the subject of negative reviews, posts and/or stories, there are ways to turn it around into something positive. To do that, check out the following tips:

Confront the Issue Head On with a Full-page Spread on the Issue

When hit with a nasty rumour or unfair publicity, try not to act like an ostrich and stick your head in the proverbial sand. Instead, address the untruths that are being said and address and correct them in news articles and/or spreads on your website. A great example of a company that did this really effectively is Amway; after being falsely accused of being a pyramid scheme, Amway responded with a full page spread about how this is definitely not the case. The tone of the article is calm and factual, and goes into detail about the history of Amway and how they are a direct selling organisation, and that their members do not earn more money by bringing in more people to work for the company.

Respond to Negative Reviews with Empathy and a Positive Attitude

For years, disgruntled customers would give a business owner a call to complain or maybe write a nasty note that was delivered via snail mail. Now, people can turn to the internet to voice their negative opinion about a company, its employees, the products and service. If you discover a negative review of your business on social media or review sites like Yelp, Business2Community suggests keeping a calm head. While you don’t want to ignore the bad review, you also don’t want to fire back with an emotionally charged comment of your own that will add fuel to the bad review fire. Take a day or two to regain your composure and then reply in a way that empathises with your customer and expresses concern. Even if the review is unfair — for example, the customer was mad because you wouldn’t refund his money for something he purchased years ago — apologise and try to make things right. This will show the other people reading the review and reply that you value your customers and that you want to be sure they are happy, and that you take responsibility for any issues.

Fix Any Problems with the Company

Another great way to turn bad publicity into a good thing is to “own” and fix the issue at a company level. If you notice that negative reviews mention a specific issue over and over, take an honest look at the complaints and see about making some changes to your staff or products. For example, if more than one customer complaints that some of your employees are less than friendly, in addition to apologising to the client, go back to your staff and let them know about the reviews and the absolute importance of offering upbeat and positive customer service. If customers are complaining about shipping and handling being too high, closely examine what you are charging and, if you feel there is some merit to what they are saying, maybe you can reduce your charges or go with a different shipping company.

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