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ORM – It’s Official

The significance “digital” has played on a consumer’s reaction to a brand, product or service has exponentially increased as review sites and channels of communication remain just a click away. I previously wrote about reputation management, the strategic method of monitoring your brand’s reputation by keeping up with customer reviews, quickly addressing any negative issues a customer may have and ensuring customer satisfaction through customer feedback solutions, such as surveys. So, what has changed in the last few months that made me want to write about this topic again? Online Reputation Management (ORM).

Exceptional customer service is at the forefront of many organization’s business practices. A local small business may rely on friendly employees to make each customer that walks through its door feels welcome and appreciated. But, what happens when a potential customer catches this employee on an off day? When these situations occur, disgruntled customers can virtually attack this business through not just one, but at least ten different channels. No matter how many good reviews an organization or business may have, a bad review could negate that feedback twofold.

What does this mean for organizations that pride themselves on their customer-centric business practices? It means that they should plan for the random case of “bad press” and incorporate a pre-emptive online reputation management plan.

Establishing a team of individuals who are well-versed in consumer opinions and behaviors is the first step to putting a pre-emptive online reputation management plan in place. These individuals can come up with theoretical situations that could potentially harm a business’ reputation. Pro-actively speculating and solving a potential negative interaction between a consumer and organization can ensure a crisis is quickly averted. Should an issue arise that has already been discussed, an organization could respond to the problem with a well-rehearsed solution.

Just as important as planning for a hypothetical situation, team members should continuously monitor situations in which other organizations have dealt with negative press. Breaking down what happened, step-by-step, and determining what could have been avoided while devising solutions to rectify the problem will help an organization should a similar problem arise.

Many businesses use customer-centric best practices to ensure positive feedback and stellar reviews. Unfortunately, in today’s digital world, no organization is invincible to the virtual customer backlash that can follow a negative interaction. Organizations should pro-actively think about any mishap that could occur and put a precautionary plan in place. Should an issue arise, organizations should already be prepared for the unexpected and ready to squash any potential bad press.

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Harland Clarke Corp. is a leading provider of best-in-class integrated payment solutions and marketing services, serving multiple industries including financial services, retail, healthcare, insurance, and telecommunications.

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