Reputation Crisis: Regaining Trust After a Company Error

When a company faces a serious error that impacts its reputation and customer trust, crisis management is essential for its survival. While failures are inevitable in any organization, what truly matters is how they are addressed and overcome. We’ll guide you step by step on how to handle a reputation crisis.

According to Warren Buffet, the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, it takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to lose it. That’s why it’s crucial to know what to do when a company commits a serious error.

Basic Communication Guidelines: What to Say to Customers?

When someone within the company, whether an employee or a department, makes a significant mistake that compromises the company’s reputation and credibility, it is necessary to establish an internal and external communication protocol.

  • Apologizing is the first step when a company finds itself in the midst of a reputation crisis. Recognizing the error and showing empathy toward the affected parties, be they employees, customers, or suppliers, is essential for rebuilding trust. The executives must take responsibility for their part.
  • Once apologies have been made, it is necessary to provide a clear and detailed explanation of the error or incident. The company should be transparent about what went wrong and how it happened. It should be easy for the public to understand, and a commitment to rectify the situation should be shown.
  • The next step is to communicate clearly and concretely what measures will be taken to resolve the problem and prevent it from happening in the future. This may include changes in internal policies, process reviews, hiring external experts, or any other necessary actions.


Key Steps for Managing a Reputation Crisis:

Now that the communication aspects are established, it is essential to implement the action plan for handling a reputation crisis.


  1. Form a crisis management team. A specific team should be designated to manage the crisis, with clearly defined roles and responsibilities. This team must be capable of making quick and effective decisions.
  2. Assess the impact of the incident. You must try to understand the extent of the damage caused by the error and identify the most affected parties. This will help determine the severity of the crisis and the most suitable strategy.
  3. Monitor and adapt. It is also crucial to closely monitor the crisis’s evolution and adjust the communication strategy as needed. Feedback and public reactions are valuable for making informed decisions.
  4. Learn from the experience. Once the crisis is resolved, the company should conduct a comprehensive review to identify lessons learned and opportunities for improvement in its internal processes and policies.


How to Address Criticism on social media:

Social media plays a crucial role in reputation crisis management, so it should be a priority communication channel.

  • Respond quickly and empathetically. Criticisms on social media spread rapidly, so it’s essential to respond promptly and show empathy toward users’ concerns.
  • Do not delete comments. Unless they are offensive or inappropriate, critical comments should not be removed. Censorship can worsen the situation and further damage the company’s reputation.
  • Provide concrete and realistic solutions. Whenever possible, offer specific solutions to the issues raised on social media. This demonstrates an active commitment to addressing concerns.
  • Monitor and manage the conversation. To manage the reputation crisis, use monitoring tools to track online conversations and address any new criticism or questions promptly.


Recovering your reputation and trust after a serious mistake will be more manageable if you follow an action plan like the one, we’ve just outlined.


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