GOLDEN TRIANGLE, Miss. (WCBI) – A shooting in a restaurant, or a fight in a mall, can make you think twice about going back to that business.
But does that last forever?
When you need that new pair of shoes, it might not take long.
“There’s not a lot of options in our small towns, so they will go back. For example Cracker Barrel or Walmart, that just had a bomb threat maybe people won’t go for a few days, but ultimately they need what they need at those places, and they’re going to go back,” said Dr. Dee Dee Larson.
A lot of the time incidents happen outside of the company’s control. What they can control is how they respond.
“Communication is the key. Just owning up to it if you’re at fault. Own up to it. If you’re not telling them what you’re doing to make things better, so it can’t happen again so, for example, a shooting may have been in your parking lot you’re going to put lights you’re going to increase security what are you gonna do to try and prevent this from happening again,” said Dr. Larson.
What some people might see as a negative is the reaction on social media. But that often blows over quickly in small towns.
“Even whether it’s small-town things that have happened or bigger events yeah you’re going to see it in social media but then give it a day, and there’s another big thing that’s now grabbing your attention,” said Dr. Larson.
As time goes on people, tend to regain trust and move on.
“No, it wouldn’t bother me,” said John Crecink.
“I definitely think I would go back maybe not immediately, but after some time I feel safe enough here to trust what’s going on to trust my community,” said Ragan Middleton.
Dr. Mike Breazeale, an associate professor at MSU, wasn’t able to go on camera Thursday but does have this to say. What really affects a business is what he calls touchpoints. That’s any moment a customer comes in contact with a brand.
You are more likely to have more positive experiences with a larger business so forgiving that one negative becomes a little easier.
Smaller businesses might not have as many of those positive touchpoints, so when something bad happens, it’s important for them to try to share new positive experiences to help overcome it.