Negative Press Survey: Forgiveness Depends on Severity of Incident

Not all press is good press, as a few companies have learned recently. From calling out bad tippers on the company Facebook page to insensitive racial remarks by employees, companies such as Boners BBQ and Papa John’s have been gaining a lot of press, but not in a good way. How much does negative press really affect a company’s bottom line? Do potential customers turn away when they hear a negative review, or can the company change the situation?

paps johns

In Person

In Ask Your Target Market’s latest survey, 56% of respondents said that a company employee or representative at some point has treated them poorly in person. 53% of those respondent said that they never went back to that business after the incident, while 21% said they continued to patronize the business, and 27% said they have made that decision based on different circumstances surrounding the incident.

Social Media

Customers might be slightly more forgiving, however, when the incident doesn’t occur to them in person. 41% of respondents said that they follow companies and brands on social media sites. Of those respondents, only 22% said that a company they follow has made a social media post they thought was in bad taste.

Second Chances

When asked if they would continue to patronize a business that received bad press for something such as an insensitive remark, most respondents did not have a definite answer. Only 5% of respondents said they would definitely continue to patronize the business and 11% said they definitely would not. 55% said it would depend on the severity of the incident itself, and 29% said it would depend on how the company handled itself after the incident.

It seems that most customers don’t have a strong preference when it comes to bad press. If a company handles itself well during and after a rough patch, customers might be willing to forgive and forget negative press. The widget below shows the results of the survey in full. Be sure to click “open full report” for full details.

Photo Credit: Papa John’s Pizza from Flickr

What do you want to know? If you need some consumer insights on a particular topic, let us know in the comments below and we’ll consider it for an upcoming survey post.

Results were collected on January 15 via AYTM’s online survey panel.

Anne Pilon brings 3 years experience to AYTM as a blogger and journalist. She has a degree in journalism and marketing communications from Columbia College in Chicago and enjoys writing about business, marketing, social media, and art.