If you look across a crowd, you’re sure to see nearly every single person in possession of a mobile device. The number of phones, tablets and other smart devices is gradually increasing due to the simple fact that technology is constantly evolving. As the landscape changes and grows, it will, in turn, lead to new advances that can benefit users, but can also come with the unfortunate downside of possible data and privacy scares. As of 2017, there are roughly 4.77 billion mobile device users, with nearly 50% of the global population having access to the internet. With this number continually growing, it’s not uncommon that some may be worried about their privacy, especially when using various apps. Users’ fears have come to fruition as leaders in tech have gone on the record to apologize for data-mining and privacy breaches. These app developers, CEOs and companies need to rectify these mistakes and earn users’ trust back before they lose it for good.
Since the invention of the internet, users have worried about who can see their usage habits and where they’re browsing. It’s common knowledge that web browsers track your data, leading many to question just how much information apps track? The non-profit organization Exodus Privacy has created a privacy auditing platform and gathered what some would deem as troublesome findings. While they found that there were violations of privacy, the issue didn’t lie within the apps they examined, but rather in third-party SDKs. In addition to that, 4% of vulnerable apps revealed over 160GB of data, which translates to roughly 280 million records. On a similar note, Facebook was recently on the defense again as another data scandal surfaced. The leader in social media admitted to having private data-sharing deals with 60 phone manufacturers. A reporter with the New York Times used a 2013 BlackBerry device that didn’t have a native Facebook app to access their friends’ information, regardless of privacy settings. This situation is another example of why consumers are fearful of what large name companies and app developers have access to. While CEOs and developers can go on the defensive and even try apologizing like Facebook has done recently with TV ads, it can only get them so far to rebuild user confidence. However, if companies and developers were to leverage Reputation Management best practices, they might stand a fighting chance in regaining these users.
Reputation Management & Best Practices
Companies and app developers alike can leverage Reputation Management to monitor and respond to their users regarding negative press, reviews, and more. If developers are ever confronted with a situation where their users are concerned over their privacy, they can follow best practices to spin a negative into a positive. For example, if someone left a negative review that said, “Steals all your data and doesn’t secure any of your information!” a developer could take the time to respond and let them know what permissions the app uses to assure their privacy is safe. Additionally, developers and companies can follow all best practices to effectively communicate with their users. Those practices are:
- Monitoring and responding to all negative reviews (3 stars and below)
- Discovering the source behind the negative reviews
- Sympathize with users and apologize
- Provide short, to-the-point responses
- Treat each review as an individual
While Reputation Management isn’t the immediate cure to a situation such as a privacy scare, it will have lasting results that help developers and companies engage with their users and establish a relationship. Their audience will also have assurance that higher-ups are listening to their worries and taking the right steps to resolve the issue.
Gain Users’ Trust Back for Good
Users want to be heard and feel like what they have to say is understood by the developers or companies they’re addressing. If there’s a scare or even just a bad app update, users are able to voice their opinions and encourage change. Without trust, app developers, tech companies, social media leaders and more would never find success. That’s why it’s important to respond and engage with users to apologize if needed and try to mend the user-developer relationship. There is no right or wrong answer that can remedy negative press – for some, it’s apologetic ads, press conferences and more. Ultimately, having a Reputation Management strategy will help organizations stay ahead of future issues and let the audience know what they’re doing to rectify problems.