Nowadays a simple mistake can turn into a viral sensation within a matter minutes.
Take for example the infamous United Airlines debacle. The footage of a passenger being dragged by security off one of their flights has been viewed more than five million times on Facebook and now every move that United Airlines makes is in the spotlight.
It has since come to light that the passenger himself was no saint before the incident but that hasn’t hindered the backlash United Airlines has received.
Though most cases will not go to that extreme, when running a business, reputation is everything and upholding that reputation is paramount.
It’s fair to say that everyone has their days and we cannot be perfect 100 percent of the time, but next time you feel like you’re having a moment of weakness in a difficult situation, here are some steps to prevent the social media backlash.
Hire a PR manager
Unfortunately for United Airlines it was a bit slow on the uptake in this department, advertising for a new PR manager after the incident in question – good luck to them. If not a good PR manager, at least someone in your company with a level head who can deal with confrontation in a calm way to avoid any embarrassing footage being captured.
Don’t use violence to solve your problems
If kindergarten children can be taught to use their words rather than their fists, then so can you. Violence doesn’t pay, though in some circumstances it may feel like the only way: I can assure you it’s not. Why not consider taking up kick-boxing after work to release some of that anger. Violence on a paying customer/client will get you nowhere except on millions of screens around the world and possibly in a cell.
If you feel like a situation is too much for you to handle, have someone close by who can take over the situation for you while you close your eyes and think of your happy place. Return to the situation only when you’ve stopped seeing red.
The customer is always right
Unfortunately, even in times when the customer is overreacting, it is vital to keep your cool and treat them with the utmost respect. Be the bigger person so if you ever get caught on camera, you’ll look like a real winner and that viral sensation might just work in your favour.
So next time you feel like you’re about to explode in front of that frustrating customer, picture that moment being viewed by millions of people around the world – is that really what you want yourself and your business to be remembered by?
By Natalia Rietveld