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How to Handle and Repair a Business Reputation Crisis

Mar 22, 2023

Learning how to fix a company's public image is part and parcel of business ownership in today’s consumer landscape. After all, customers care more than ever about their chosen brands’ values and reputations.

Approximately 70% of today’s consumers want to know that their chosen brands are socially and environmentally responsible. 84% of consumers trust an online review as highly as they would a personal recommendation. 

If your brand is in hot water, this is the guide for you. In four steps, we’ll break down how to repair business reputation and regain customers’ trust. Most importantly, we’ll note how your brand can use digital tools like SMS during this process. 

Table of Contents

#1 Identify the Problem

Before you can make a plan for rebuilding your image, you have to understand what went wrong. What are consumers’ concerns about your brand? You can gather critical information about your business’s shortcomings by:

  • Monitoring online feedback

Customer feedback (like Google reviews) is a valuable reserve of information about how the public views your brand. Study your Google reviews to determine what customers are concerned about, what they think should be done about the problem and how the issue impacts their likelihood of purchasing your products or services again. 

  • Surveying stakeholders

Once you’ve determined customers’ concerns, ask your company stakeholders for their take on the issue. Stakeholders can help you brainstorm solutions, enforce resulting changes to company policies and procedures and communicate with the public. 

  • Conduct a thorough investigation

If you’re still unsure of the root of your reputation issue, conduct an investigation to identify potential causes. Ask past customers and staff about their experiences to gather information. SMS can be a great tool for acquiring this type of feedback. Check out our blog on How to Send and Format Text Message Surveys for more information.

#2 Develop a Response Strategy

Once you have a clear picture of the issue impacting your reputation, create (and act upon) a robust response strategy. That strategy might include:

  • Apologizing and taking responsibility

Consumers, staff and stakeholders care about accountability. Apologize for any mistakes, admit your brand’s role in wrongdoing and communicate your intentions to make it right. 

  • Communication

Keep lines of communication open with customers, staff and stakeholders. Be prepared to answer questions and be as transparent as possible as you navigate reputation repair. 

  • Addressing the root cause

Create a plan for making changes and taking corrective actions that address the root cause of the issue. Whether you only need to make a small change or completely overhaul numerous company policies, make it clear how, when and why those changes will occur. 

Let’s examine a hypothetical. If multiple customers accuse your business of long hold times for customer service calls, your response strategy might include:

  1. Apologizing to customers through a written statement
  2. Explaining to customers and stakeholders why hold times were so long
  3. Taking steps to improve customer service and decrease hold times, like
    • Offering additional customer service channels
    • Hiring more customer support staff
    • Cross-training other team members to support customers during peak times

#3 Communicate with the Public

While you should communicate your response plan with the public early in the repair process, you should also prioritize general communications as you rebuild customer relationships. This might look like:

  • Regular updates

After publicizing your action plan, consider providing updates on your progress as you implement the solutions you announced. Customers may appreciate this increased transparency.

  • Staying active on social media

As you rebuild your reputation, don’t forget to maintain regular operations appropriately. If you were showcasing a different product on your Instagram story daily, for instance, you can keep doing that while communicating about positive changes.

  • Respond to online reviews

As of 2022, 53% of customers expected businesses to respond to negative online reviews within a week, and one in three customers wants businesses to respond within three days. Online reviews offer an excellent communication platform, especially for businesses looking to apologize and take responsibility for mistakes. 

#4 Rebuild Trust and Reputation

As you solve the problem at the heart of your image crisis, you should also take steps to repair your overall reputation in the consumer landscape. The following tactics can help you rebuild customer relationships and return to positive growth:

  • Focus on delivering excellent customer service as you navigate the crisis. You want to give customers as many reasons as possible to say something positive about your brand. 
  • Engage in community outreach and social responsibility initiatives. Depending on the issue, these can help you make a positive impact after making a mistake. 
  • Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive online feedback, like Google reviews. Most importantly, continue to manage your Google reviews: respond to positive and negative posts. 

Bolster Reputation with SMS Marketing from Textedly

The steps above can help you repair your business’s reputation in the market after a mistake or a series of customer complaints. Online feedback (especially Google reviews) is highly visible, and it can make a significant impact on your reputation. Managing reviews is part and parcel of image management and excellent customer service. 

In this guide, we recommended paying close attention to your Google reviews and asking satisfied customers to leave positive feedback online. Textedly's Online Review Management Software can help you simplify review requests and make it easy for customers to leave valuable feedback. 

Whether you’re navigating a reputation crisis, trying to drum up new business or offering a new customer support channel, business texting can be an invaluable tool for today’s brands. The best part? With Textedly, you can start for free

Learn more about SMS marketing and start sending messages to your customers today


Association for Supply Chain Management. Consumers Care About Corporate Social Responsibility—And So Should You. https://www.ascm.org/ascm-insights/consumers-care-about-corporate-social-responsibility--and-so-should-you/ 

Inc. Magazine. 84% of People Trust Online Reviews As Much As Friends. Here’s How to Manage What They See. https://www.inc.com/craig-bloem/84-percent-of-people-trust-online-reviews-as-much-.html 

LinkedIn. The Best Tool in Crisis Communication Is Accountability. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/best-tool-crisis-communication-accountability-tara-goodwin-2c?trk=pulse-article_more-articles_related-content-card 

ReviewTrackers. Online Reviews Statistics and Trends: A 2022 Report by ReviewTrackers. https://www.reviewtrackers.com/reports/online-reviews-survey/ 

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