The need for damage control is increasing for brands images suffering from bad reviews and other trust-related catastrophes.
When you’ve suffered a hit to your company reputation from bad reviews online, use these five actions to manage your response:

1. Use a persuasive source to speak on your behalf: call up your most notable client – a local celebrity, town council leader or former mayor, news or radio personality – and have them do a testimonial for you or submit a review of their own. In addition to increasing the number of reviews, that name and personality will lend weight and credence to your assertion that your company can do what it promises.

2. Create a refutational appeal: start by agreeing with or even introducing first the opposing ideas and doubts and then showing why they aren’t good ideas. You’ll take away the umph in their “side” before they even get a chance to throw it at you. (NOTE: this is an exceptional strategy for all of your customer interaction policies – know the ways customers are likely to object and have ready answers for your choices.)

3. Adopt a strong sense of humor: think of what the caveman did to humorize the boring insurance industry, especially in an economic recession when insurance rates went up while personal incomes went down. That’s how you want to think of using humor to diffuse a problem.

4. Raise a symbol or mascot: if your company name or personality lends itself to a mascot, now might be just the time to introduce that friendly, trust-worthy personality. Think Jolly Green Giant or Pillsbury Dough Boy – be unique, amiable, and kind.

5. Tell a good story: instead of collecting and organizing a traditional, fact-supported argument (logical though it may be), embed the core question and answer into a story. This is a great time to pull out stories of client crises where you got to shine as the hero – swooping in, fixing the problem, and there’s sunshine and rainbows and smiles at the end.

The key is never to argue or “take the bait.” Your job is to neutralize counter-arguments and doubts before they distract other leads.

Read the full article at LinkedIn.