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Is your reputation killing your business? My top 3 tips for repair

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“New Management Very New Attitude” When I was going to a event, I saw that sign and it really hit a note for me. This monstrosity was right on the wall of a fairly large apartment complex. Considering I used to work in property management, I first started laughing hysterically, because someone seriously put that sign on the apartment complex. Then, I cringed, because someone really did put that sign on a building. Oh dear…..really?

Reputation, like trust, is very easily destroyed but hard to rebuild. However, if you are trying to fix the reputation of a business; broadcasting the fact that there was a big problem is now the way to do it. I never would have known that that complex had issues had I not seen the sign. I’m glad the owner fixed the issues but, the new management is over compensating. The sign brings more attention to the ‘previous’ problem, than the positive features of the apartment complex.

My top three tips for repair

  1. Come up with a game plan: How are you going to fix this?

Many years ago when I lived in the Seattle area, I worked for an accounting firm who was developing quite the reputation problem. They had a poor rating with the better business bureau, and they were losing clients left and right. One very large Seattle area client was very open, they basically said your customer service is so poor we don’t want to do business with you anymore. Instead of saying what can we do to stop this from continuing, they just kept going on business as usual. They hoped it would go away on its own. Trying to fix this was out of their comfort zone. They were accountants! not PR reps! I eventually left since I did not know how much longer I was going to have a job if they kept losing clients. This company is still in business. They did reevaluate their business plan,and have fixed their reputation. However, they never fully recovered. At one point they had 20+ employees, now they have 4. They shrunk substantially. If they had actually addressed the problem, made a plan to solve it and executed it much sooner, they would be in a much better spot.

When I worked for Property Management company, my first property made the papers. And…. it was not good press. And….the complex was less than a year old. I won’t go to much into detail but the property was getting a reputation as a bad property because the police had been called out two times in one week for domestic disputes. I felt the owner dealt with it well. He came in and said kick them out. (Which unless rent is not paid, or there is an unusual amount of property damage, you don’t usually hear that out of an owner.) We had grounds to per the lease to terminate the lease and they were out within the week. The problem was addressed and solved quickly and effectively. After a while people started to forget it ever happened, and the blemish to the property’s reputation for those domestic disputes faded.

Focus on the positive

Don’t try to overcompensate in a situation like this. Putting up a sign that says “New Management very new attitude” is not going to bring good press. It focuses more on the problem, than what has been solved. Besides its a jab at the previous management company which is just unprofessional. Keep it positive. When people see your business they need to feel positive going in. Don’t focus on that negative stuff publicly. You need to deal with the negative aspects that tarnished your businesses reputation, but don’t dwell on them. You need to move forward. So, this apartment complex is a very good example. If the new management is worth its salt it will focus on all the improvements they are making to the property, and trying to close deals. So, something more like this

Move in before Jan 1 – First months rent free!

Beautifully renovated community room!

Check out our huge on-site gym!

Doesn’t that look better than new management very new attitude 🙂 Unless someone asks you really don’t need to bring it up. If someone does ask you can say you have resolved the problem, and have taken a proactive approach to ensure that this does not happen again.

Actions speak louder than words

You may talk a good game, but the fact is your reputation was tarnished, and your customers have lost trust in you. They aren’t going to believe change, until they see it. So, let say your reputation was tarnished by a security breech. Put a better plan into place today! Enforce it! If it takes three passwords to ensure website security do it! You must must must prove to your customers via ACTIONS that you can be trusted again. Your competition is looking to pounce on your tarnished reputation and take all your customers! You need to act swiftly to fix the problem and ensure you keep your good name. Your only as good as your word.

So, going back to the very new management and attitude. Great job at taking the first step to restore your reputation. However, how does that translate to benefits to your customer? Renewal incentives for residents? Renovations to the property so that its exceeds the competition? Tighter restrictions for the application process so resident feel safer? A newly upgraded security system?

You have to work extra hard to re earn your customers trust. What does your customer want that they can not get from the competition? Give it to them! State of the art! Essentially, be the best. This article has a great example pertaining to a large pizza chain that needed to re earn its customers trust. What to Do When Your Company Has a Bad Reputation

Take heart, if your company reputation has been tarnished all is not lost. It will take hard work, and a swiftly executed action, but you can do this!

Have you worked for a company that had a bad reputation? How did they fix the problem?