In House - The FindLaw Corporate Counsel Blog

What to Do When the Company Has a Credibility Problem

For successful relationships, it's a basic rule that trust is paramount.

If you don't trust your partner, basically you have a weak relationship. It's true in personal and business relationships, too.

So what do you do when your company has a credibility problem with customers? Here's how some big businesses are dealing with it.

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo, the oldest bank in the United States, lost the trust of Americans a few years ago. It was caught creating fake accounts, making bad loans, and all kinds of wrongdoing.

More than $1 billion in fines later, the company is dealing with the heart of the problem. A new commercial harks back to the days when the company delivered customers' gold "by steam, by horse, by iron horse."

"Over years, we built on that trust," the company says. "We always found a way until ... we lost it."

Sure, it's just a commercial but it shows the company is taking responsibility. It started that campaign in 2016, when it first agreed to pay $185 million in fines for its wrongdoing.

Facebook

Facebook, which is dealing with its own credibility scandal, has also been on an apology tour. Mark Zuckerberg admitted that his company didn't protect user data in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

"It is clear now that we didn't do enough, we didn't focus enough on preventing abuse," Zuckerberg told reporters. "We didn't take a broad enough view of what our responsibility is, and that was a huge mistake."

There are different kinds of apologies, of course. Zuckerberg also pointed a finger at Facebook users. "The vast majority of the data that Facebook knows is because you chose to share it," he said.

That would be like Wells Fargo blaming customers for putting money in the bank.

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