I wanted to talk to you today about how to manage potential reputation issues without being overwhelmed, and how this can quickly form part of your daily or monthly planning.
The recent Facebook outage had some online businesses shifting in their seats uncomfortably whilst secretly panicking about when it would come back on. I have also seen more and more ‘automation gone wrong’ and businesses creak and groan that rely heavily on automation, software and Facebook.
So building on a recent episode around making sure your marketing promise meets your customer experience, I am sharing six simple steps you can follow to make this part of your regular comms planning.
So let’s dive in!
Links mentioned in this episode:
(also here: https://bit.ly/6StepGuideIssuesNoTissues
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PS – Did you know? Communication Strategy That Works is in the top 90 UK Small Business Podcasts you must listen to in 2021, by Feedspot.
I wanted to talk to you today about how to manage potential reputation issues without the overwhelm, how this forms part of your daily or monthly planning, and how to make sure you have covered everything.
The recent Facebook outage had online businesses panicking or a least shifting in their seats whilst secretly panicking about when it would come back on. I have also seen more and more automation gone wrong and businesses creak and groan that rely heavily on automation and software.
The thing is you are responsible for promoting your business or intitiave, you also bear the brunt of impact then things go wrong. Building on last week’s episode around making sure your marketing promise meets your customer experience, I am sharing six simple steps you can follow.
It’s really easy to fall over yourself when you’ve got lots on and everyone is pushing forward, especially when I see lots of people overwhelmed with so much to do as everything appears to have ramped up since restrictions surround covid have lifted. Without reflection time built into our working programme, we are unable to spot what is coming down the track. Whilst this is inevitable sometimes with acts of god etc. Actually there are some ways we can make communication planning easier by taking a step back and reflecting on what is happening a few months down the line.
This doesn’t have to be a huge plan, just one-pager that notes down these items and mentally files them for dealing with at a later stage. If we are a little prepared, this also helps us with overwhelm. It is a bit like journaling, which is a good way to help a busy brain deal with all the overwhelming thoughts daily. By making a short, sharp plan about potential reputation issues, we can feel like we are making inroads into handling them and are more prepared, which reduces our overwhelm and ultimately makes us more productive.
So let’s dive in.
Step one is you need to be able to spot the problem.
So that means taking a bit of time to look for the signals in your business. Just spending even 10 minutes every month thinking about where those issues are will help. Maybe there is a monthly meeting you can join where big items are discussed such as operational issues, or maybe you can locate the minutes of that meeting if you cannot attend, or maybe if you are the business owner you have a risk register you can look over. Or maybe you just need to sit and reflect on what they could be if you’re just starting out. So have a think about what those issues are and start to list them out.
Step two is all about getting under the skin of that issue.
So if that’s a customer issue, you need to speak to that customer. You might need to talk to someone in your supply chain, if it’s about supply, for example, all people that handle your finance or your automation, any software that you have, or that you rent or that you buy-in. You really need to get under the skin of what that issue is and potentially everything about it and what you might need to do to mitigate it.
Step three is about the prioritisation of that list.
You need to think about, “Well, what’s the one I need to get right? What’s that most important task?” There’s some that are going to need immediate attention. And there’s some that will need a watching brief, I guess, which is just keeping an eye on them and checking in.
For example, you may discover that in a couple of years or six months, you need to change your IT system, do you need to be planning to change that so you can maintain your customer contact effectively? How urgent is this issue today and how will I need to mitigate it?
This leads us to step 4, which is about writing down an answer to the question; what is the issue and why is it a problem for us, and how will we deal with it if it happens now?
This is a short statement, and it’s something you can use if you need to explain to people, but it gets your mind in that place of, okay, how would I talk to somebody? How would I talk to my customer? Let’s take the front-end sales pipeline or customer contact part of your business if you’re online. If that fails, what am I going to say to people? How am I going to deal with that? What does that look like? And how am I going to answer those questions I’m going to get? This is all about planning.
When the heat is already on, trying to think about what to say.
Step five is all about implementation.
Do you need to step into action? What do you need to do now to mitigate the impact of that issue? What are the actual steps you need to take to, let’s take the same example if you know that software update is not going to be coming, what steps do you need to take now to start telling people about the change in your business so that you can have a smooth change rather than a problem where the front end of your business falls over because you can’t have your customer contact effective in that moment.
And step six, the final step, is about monitoring.
This is something you could do in a Google sheet. It doesn’t have to be complicated. You have your list, you have prioritisation, and you have your column for each of these steps, and you monitor it every month, every couple of weeks, depending on where your issues are and what you need to do with them. It’s something you just need to revisit. And in terms of reputation management, you just need to make sure that you’ve got those answers ready, you’ve got a robust answer for if you need to talk to people, if that happens sooner than you would like, or if it’s forced on you, for example.
I hope you enjoyed this short episode today, you can download my free ‘no tissues issues management’ guide to hit the ground running, leaving you free to get on with your day job knowing that this is in hand and your reputation management is in check. I have put the link in the shownotes for you and don’t to forget also to check out my learning platform ‘comms that works, which I am adding to all the time.