Fox News expose of Home Adviser could be your wake-up call Email
Wednesday, December 10, 2014 11:24 AM

home repairRecently, Fox News did an expose of jobs by remodeling contractors gone terribly bad.  All of the homeowners had hired their contractors via the Home Adviser network. 

The company links companies across the US and Canada that provide home-related services with homeowners who need help.  Seeing national coverage of worst case scenarios had to have been a public relations nightmare for this company whose international headquarters is in Golden, CO.

Their experience is also a wake-up call to any company in the service industry to be prepared for some type of PR disaster because it will happen.

Fox News may not roll onto your job site, but odds are that a customer will post a negative review on the Internet or a serious accident could occur.  Whether it’s one negative post or a full-blown disaster, how you respond will be critical. Be prepared.

Here are 5 mistakes companies make during a crisis.

#1 – Distancing themselves from the problem
Mistakes happen and if you have made one, don’t deny it.  Claim responsibility unless you are absolutely certain your company did nothing wrong.  In some situations, you may need to seek legal counsel before speaking publicly, but you should still speak about the situation.

#2 – Disappearing from view
Ignoring a situation will not make it go away and can have negative, long-lasting results. Without a visible and accessible CEO or leader, people both within and outside your company have nowhere to turn.  Even if you aren’t ready to offer a detailed response or solution because all the information isn’t in, still show up and voice your concern about what has happened.

A boring and official news release is useless.  Get in front of the issue and use every contact point you have with the public, including social media, your website and being available to those who need information. If this is a high-stakes event, seek professional help to manage the public relations effort.

#3 – Making excuses instead of taking action
Consumers want tangible results, not lame excuses, arguments or vague explanations.  Focus on the problem and how to make it right.  As soon as possible, say what you can and will do and then make it happen.

#4 – Looking insincere in front of your critics or the media
Sincerity goes a long way in earning back trust.  Whatever the situation, avoid coming across as smug, insincere or afraid.  If you can empathize with your critic or those involved with a victim of a disaster, show it.

#5 - Ignoring the questions.  
A generic statement that you’re “on it” won’t instill trust.  Address the specific questions that are raised about the problem because that is what clients and critics want to know.  What is your plan to deal with the situation?  Be clear and expect to be held accountable for whatever follow-through you commit to do.

Read these other articles in this issue of Colorado Green NOW.
Marijuana and our company:  Will court case turn your HR upside down?
The latest on mulch and landscape fabric
Big Sky gets unexpected community service project
Turf war: artificial turf is under fire

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