Friday, December 31, 2010

Better Listen To Your Customers

In a recent Edelman Strategy One poll, 82 percent of Americans gave the country’s businesses a grade of “C” or LOWER and 61 percent said American corporations failed to meet their expectations in 2010.

In fact, the Edelman survey concluded that 40 percent of people answering the poll gave American businesses a letter grade of “D” or “F.” Only 17 percent awarded an “A” or a “B.”

More than 80 percent said they won’t change their mind about American businesses until they begin promoting ethical behavior, make products with fewer recalls and fewer mistakes, among other things.

You don’t have to rely on the Edelman poll to know how unhappy Americans are with their government and the corporate world. Talk to anyone, anywhere and it won’t take long before you hear horror stories about how some company or some bureaucrat ignored them, mistreated them, misled them, took advantage of them or otherwise failed to meet their obligations.

What does this have to do with crisis management?

A lot.

Two-thirds of all business crises are preventable. Many of them start out with small issues that someone should recognize and fix. So all the things consumers complain about are the very things that can snowball and cause a company a significant loss and/or damage to its reputation.

The other side of this coin is the lack of bankable GOODWILL.

When companies have a crisis and their employees or partners or customers or shareholders, or all of the above turn on them, a good supply of banked goodwill will go a long way toward helping them get through the problem and speed recovery.

You cannot bank any goodwill when your publics think you are unethical or they can’t depend on your service or products.

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