Brand Reputation Management Done The Right Way
In my previous article, What Is Online Business Reputation Management And Why Does It Matter, I laid out the principals brand reputation management through your organization's online channels.
Recently I had a personal experience that involved a situation where a business owner executed flawless brand reputation management.
My Experience at Undercurrent Coffee
Running a digital marketing agency has some unique perks that other industries and job duties do not allow. That's working remotely.
I routinely take my colleagues to various coffee shops, restaurants, and other public forums to hold smarketing meetings. Smarketing meetings are informal gatherings where sales and marketing teams discuss and execute digital marketing tactics.
On this particular day, we decided to go to a local coffee shop called Undercurrent Coffee in Plaza Midwood. For you non-Charlotteans, this is a hip neighborhood in uptown Charlotte NC.
We chose this particular coffee shop because it was highly recommended and holds a 4.7 rating on Google Reviews.
The establishment is a beautiful old house transformed into a quaint spot for locals to sit in, converse, and enjoy delicious coffee and unique small plates.
We quickly found a high top and put our bags and laptops to claim the table. We then went and ordered our coffee and food from the counter.
When we returned to our table, we began our meeting. After a few minutes, I noticed a section with couches and chairs surrounding a small coffee table. We quickly moved.
After a few moments a man came and asked to sit in an unoccupied chair surrounding the table we were utilizing.
I thought this was strange, considering there were 4 chairs and 3 of us. We were in close quarters and his presences disrupted our meeting. I asked him, "can I help you." He looked at me befuddled by my question, with no response.
I asked again, "can I help you, we are in the middle of a meeting." He looked at me and responded, "this is intended for public seating." Fair enough. I pointed out some seating at the counter for single occupants. He replied with, "I'll only be here for a minute."
I reluctantly responded with, "ok."
We awkwardly carried on with our meeting but completely distracted by this situation.
After a moment he got up and walked away.
As marketers typically do, we conducted some research on who owns the place. Come to find out, the guy who sat next to us was the owner.
We felt as if our requests were reasonable and confirming that the person was the owner, we were not happy.
I decided I wanted to see how their brand reputation management, if any at all, would transpire. I wrote a negative Google review addressing the situation. My intent was not to destroy Undercurrent Coffee's reputation but to raise attention to the, now confirmed owner, of our experience at his establishment.
Boom, published my review.
How This Business Owner Executed Great Brand Reputation Management
About an hour later, a reply was on my Google Review from the owner, Todd Huber. He offered his apology and provided his email address for us to communicate offline via email to resolve the issue. (He pulled the conversation offline) You want to do this to prevent any further negative communicate via online channels.
I quickly comprised an email, describing our experience and feelings from the awkward situation.
Immediately my phone rang.
"Hi Carson, this is Todd from Undercurrent Coffee. I wanted to reach out to you about your unfortunate experience at my establishment earlier today and offer an apology for my actions."
Todd explained to me that he has designed his coffee shop to be focused around community and sharing. Everyone is welcome and we promote customers to sit together and enjoy each other's company.
We chatted for about 15 minutes and came to an agreement that we had simply had a miscommunication and that he could have educated me more about what his establishment is built on.
The call ended on a high note. I told him because of his professional response, I would love to return and hopefully he would be there so we could chat about our successes and failures as business owners.
In my professional opinion, Todd executed online brand reputation management flawlessly...
This is a great real-world example of turning a detractor, an unhappy customer, into an evangelist, a promoter. And hopefully you can apply this business owner's tactics to manage your brand's reputation effectively.