In Reputation Years
We all know that there are dog years and human years. Then there are reputation years. An article in PRWeek (UK) has this quote from Dell’s EMEA communications head Kerry Bridge about its reputation emergence from Dell Hell: “We lost sight of the importance of conversations with customers. The ramifications could take us ten years to overcome.” Bridge was referring to Jeff Jarvis’ BuzzMachine Blog criticizing Dell’s customer service that attracted over-the-top media attention. I must applaud Bridge for being realistic about how long it takes to restore reputation. Although our research has shown that it takes about 3.5 years just to get back on your feet, it probably takes a good 7 to 10 years for a company to go from poor to good to great. Reputation years are tiresome because leaders feel every minute of pain and suffering. Ten years probably feels like 20 years when it comes to reputation calendars. However, reputations can be restored. That’s the good news.