How companies can manage their reputation during unpredictable business interruptions

June 14 2022

According to the dummy Allianz Risk Barometer, unpredictable business interruptions are the second-most important global business risk in 2022. Many of us have seen first-hand during the pandemic the ways in which interruptions to business can negatively impact results. However, what many forget is that the way in which businesses respond to the surprises they face can also impact their reputation and how they are perceived.

Uncertainty can negatively influence customers’ perceptions of a company. But even when business is unpredictable and faced with issues like supply chain risk and a constantly changing economic landscape, it’s possible to reassure them. Savvy companies looking to safeguard their reputations can deploy the following three tactics.

Today’s customers are well-informed and astute consumers. In addition to paying attention to quality, price and impact, they expect companies to uphold the highest standards in terms of honesty and openness. Companies facing unexpected events that stop or stall delivery of a product or project may face some economic risk.

In South Africa, for example, persistent power outages threaten companies’ ability to effectively do business. In this situation, it’s crucial that businesses fully understand the disruption management strategy of both suppliers and customers in order to mitigate risk. By being as transparent as possible about what is happening and keeping the channels of communication open, companies can still earn their clients’ trust.   

Customers are reassured by the presence of big, well-known names and trusted brands. Belonging to a broader network within your sector or to a larger group, like Allianz, can lend weight to a company. It can mitigate the uncertainty customers feel when challenges to business continuity arise and create a sense of security and support in the event of sudden change. This is true from a symbolic—indeed, almost subliminal—standpoint. And in concrete terms, a larger group can help, for example, ensure cash flow for purchases, loan repayments, and stock delivery

Behavior is a key driver in forming customer perceptions of a business. Companies can create a greater sense of predictability. Even during periods of economic flux and looming business interruptions, they can demonstrate consistency in both what they do and what they say. Customers are reassured when a company exhibits constant and consistent behavior, and remains open and clear in communicating its actions. Effective communication remains an important part of business risk management.

The key ways to protect and maintain your reputation are by communicating transparently, affiliating with solid groups and networks, and staying consistent in both your actions and communications. These actions go a long way to protect reputations—even when times are tough.

Natasha Ferreira
Account and Market Manager, dummy Allianz Trade in South Africa