Today’s daily post suggestion is about how do you regain lost trust. I am approaching the topic from the perspective of businesses. It is a topic that comes up fairly often in the corporate world – take the instance of J & J and Tylenol. Coming as it does following other product recalls over the last year, J&J is really struggling with customers’ flagging faith and loss of trust. As in the case of individuals, the best way for companies to handle mistakes or errors in judgement is to be upfront and admit it and then to apologize sincerely. It is important to rebuild this broken bridge as without trust there can be no meaningful future relationship.
Trust is built by open communication and social networks can be an incredible tools for companies working to build or rebuild the trust of their customers or clients. Facebook, YouTube and Twitter can be used for immediate communication to send the message that the company is not trying to hide anything. The company website should have the information in an easily accessible manner with a suggested follow-up action to deal with the matter that has caused the loss of trust. It is a good idea to have a plan of action to handle image issues so that in the event of a problem, a concerted effort at brand management can be launched promptly.
Social media is all about two-way communication and so it is important to be prepared to handle the feedback that will be generated from Facebook updates or Tweets. It is important to keep an even tone in all interactions and to not engage in flame wars. The idea is to generate faith and confidence and snarky comments and impatience do not help achieve this goal.
Trust takes time. To regain trust takes even longer. So, it is important to think long-term. It will not work to take the approach that says ‘We have apologized, let us move on.’ Continue to stay engaged with conversations in all social media and have a responsible employee respond to all feedback and comments. While fixing the problem will be a big part of establishing a company’s image, communicating and being responsive are going to be critical in regaining trust.