5 Ways to Keep Your Customers – and the Media – Wanting More
As a business strives for success, it is going to have numerous highs and lows. For McDonalds, one of the most successful brands in the world, last year was a definite low, if you put any credence in the recent list 24/7 Wall St. compiled of the 10 most hated companies in the United States.
According to the list, the company is the “most hated” in America. “The animosity comes from complaints that have been gaining traction since the summer,” writes PRDaily.com’s Matt Wilson. “In October, the company’s helpline suggested an employee look into going on food stamps.” In addition, according to the report, “low wages may be why the fast-food giant scored just 73 in the American Customer Satisfaction Index, the lowest in the limited service restaurant.”
At the same time, articles on Forbes.com focus on how McDonalds is still, no matter what people think, regarded as one of the most successful companies ever, touting the founder’s recipe for success: “The two most important requirements for major success are: first, being in the right place at the right time, and second, doing something about it.”
Basically, if you’re going to be successful, you’re going to be both revered AND hated. The only way to eliminate the latter is to stop doing business all together – and even that will only gradually reduce the negative perceptions held by those who feel you’ve wronged them in some way.
But there are ways to reduce the risk of seeing your company name – or your own name – splattered across the news in a negative light. These five BE’s are basically common sense your parents taught you growing up applied to business:
- Be Good: Doing good work with quality services and products builds brand loyalty and trust. If you’re trusted, your customers will return time after time and recommend you to their friends, family and/or readers. The media will hear about the good things you’re doing and want to hear more as well.
- Be Open: Let your customers – and the media – know what you’re up to. Keep them informed through social media, press releases, etc. Have your CEO write monthly or quarterly articles on the status of the company for customers and the media. Do Q&As online with customers and be willing to answer the hard questions.
- Be Honest: When confronted, be prepared to tell the truth. Period. If something goes wrong and you are to blame, admit the fault, apologize, share ways you will fix the issue and move on. Even if you aren’t to blame, apologize that the issue happened in the first place and discuss how you can work with your customers to rectify the situation.
- Be Teachable: Be willing to adapt and change as you learn from your mistakes and successes. If you’ve done something your customers – or the media – are unhappy with, listen to their recommendations on how to make things better. If another successful company is doing something you like, don’t be afraid to follow their path.
- Be Grateful: Your customers are your business, so be sure to thank them for this business. Show this appreciation through personal notes, if appropriate, or to a broad audience on social media. The same goes for the media. If they write a positive article about your company, thank them. Being kind and showing gratitude plays a huge part in keeping everyone coming back for more.
What have you done to keep your customers – and the media – happy?