Often a business’s success will be made by the reputation of the company. A bad reputation, whether it is a true reflection or not, can cause fewer new customers and a decline in profits. Creating the reputation you feel the organisation deserves doesn’t have to require huge financial investment, the key is to make the time and effort count towards making and retaining a highly regarded reputation of your business. Here are some pointers on how to enhance your business reputation straight away:
“The Customer is King”
The organisations that have truly great reputations are aware of their customer’s desires. They are your top priority, without them you wouldn’t have a business and your employees wouldn’t have jobs. Staff should bear this in mind when dealing with customers. The simple way to prioritise your customers is to put yourself in their position, think about what they require of your product or service and how they want to feel when they deal with your business. If you can get your relationship with customer’s right, and they are left impressed, then they will be advocates for your organisation. This will help build a strong reputation without too much effort.
Invest in your Employees
After customers, your staff are the most important part of your company, regardless of its size. If your workers feel motivated to do their job properly, it will reflect well in their performance and thus enhance the reputation of your business. Value you staff and they will value their job; if they value their role they will work with passion and this will translate into satisfied customers and an increase in profits. Valuing your staff can be as simple as praising them when they do well or you could invest in further training.
Keep an eye and an ear out
Be on the watch for both positive and negative reviews, both online and offline. Take on board customer feedback so you can adjust your business practices accordingly, being flexible in all departments of your business is helpful. The best way to improve your business reputation is to constantly manage it. Sometimes criticism is hard to take but it can be helpful to hear, everyone has a different idea of how to run a business but if a number of customers are not happy with the way yours is being conducted then something needs to change. Either you need to target a different audience or adapt to fit your current customers wishes. Take the feedback you receive and use it to understand where you need to improve your practice. Online feedback can be helpful but in depth customer reviews and discussions provide more detail and will shed further light onto why your business doesn’t have the reputation you desire.
Reputation can also be improved through recognition from other companies, especially if they are a well-established brand. Awards are an effective way to spread word and increase a positive reputation. What many companies don’t recognise is that sometimes you can put yourself up for entry to awards; you don’t have to just wait for a nomination. Even if only shortlisted for an award it can boost the reputation of a business and advertise to potential customers, particularly if the award is prestigious.
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I can agree with the philosophy of the customer being king. However, far too many businesses fail to realize that their staff needs to be treated like they are worthy of note and respect. I saw it far too often in various jobs. Management would completely over-turn a customer service representative’s decision, a decision based on store policy, to make a customer happy. The customer was almost never actually happy even with all the ‘kissing up.”
The staff member looked like a fool, and the customer got their way by pitching a fit and screaming about service that was actually either against policy or even against the law.
“The Customer is kings”, how many organization really take keen consideration to this quote. The bottom line is one less customer is one too much, when customer sends or relates a bad experience about an organization it spreads like wildfire. I cannot say the same about the customer being treated as King. This usually does not spiral very far but as a lasting effect on that customer who will return to become a lifelong customer and that can be more profitable that having a passerby customer.
Training is so vital in getting employees to know the value of treating a customer as the king. This will at times even make their job easier.
I agree on all points. Businesses these days should do everything possible to meet customers needs and to treat them fairly. It’s always been the honorable and ethical thing to do. But these days, all the more so as a business’ reputation can be quickly called into question if the experience of a mistreated customer goes viral in social media. It’s not just bad reviews. People have been known to post YouTube videos if they feel they have not been treated fairly.
One of the most famous of the latter is the case of the Canadian music artist Dave Carroll who posted a YouTube video — composing and performing an original song ‘ United Breaks Guitars’– after United Airlines’ baggage handlers damaged his guitar and did not compensate him.
That’s the kind of publicity a company does not need. Treating a customer fairly from the start can prevent such situations which are unfortunate for all concerned. In light of such risks, as you point out, companies should also do as much monitoring as possible to stay apprised of what is being said and written about them. It’s especially important to monitor social media.
The power that online reviews yield can literally make or break a businesses reputation. That’s why you have restaurants and doctors offices up in arms about getting negative feedback removed. If 50% of your prospects seek out reviews for your company and those reviews are yucky, you’re in financial trouble. Bad news spreads like an army of ants over a sugar cube.
My basic philosophy for sustaining a great reputation is quite simple… Under promise and over deliver.
Honestly, it doesn’t take a lot to make people happy. Don’t say you can do something when you know that you can’t. And always give a little something extra to show the customer how special they are.
A friend of mine owns a clothing store. Each time a customer buys a complete outfit (shirt and pants, for example), she tosses in a pair of earrings for free. It costs her $1.00-$2.00 to over deliver. But the goodwill she creates is worth so much more. She has had repeat customers for years because of this very simple tactic.
I agree with you that a small gesture can really go a long way with your customers – especially in the service & retail areas.
Also, the capacity of online reviews that technology provides in our ‘instant information’ age can make or break a small business. However, the reality is that you can’t make everyone happy all of the time. Sometimes negative feedback is just what a business needs. If you know what is wrong – you have the chance to fix it. The object is to balance your time with online reviews.
Having been the manager of a start-up, I found that it is easy to become obsessed with the online review sites. When that happens, everyone suffers. If negative reviews come – then try to communicate with the customer to see if a resolution can be reached to the best of your ability. If not, then you just have to move on at some point. The goal is to open the doors of communication for your customers – whether the feedback is good or bad. I feel that it is suicide for a business when the ‘yucky’ feedback is ignored.
This article is so true!
If you want to keep your companies reputation good then you should always put the customer first and strive to provide the best service that you can give.
Never ever should you do anything however small it may be to give your customer a reason not to trust your company.
Always put your customer first and they will be sure to come back over and over again.
When you get a negative response from a customer, you should do everything you can to make it right and to learn from the situation.
Put your customers first and your companies reputation is sure to skyrocket!!!
I really am amazed when I find that a business of any size does not look after the customer well. This is an issue in most countries I have been to but as a UK national I was shocked when I went to Chile in SA last year to see how the business owners just don’t seem to care.
For example, I went into a Dunkin Doughnuts (I had never been there before) and ordered a coffee which came to me after 20 minutes… cold. I took the coffee back and asked for it to be warmed up and I really thought I had broken some unwritten law… I was looked at by the staff as if I was a pest sent to spoil their day.
Will it get better… In Chile i’m not sure.
Wow, that’s terrible service! And in this kind of situation, the image of the entire global franchise of a highly recognized brand is at risk. You could have very easily spread the word of your experience, perhaps even documented it with pictures and video and suddenly it could become a major problem for Dunkin Doughnuts.
This kind of thing has happened, of course, with fast-food franchises when employees’ egregious behavior becomes public knowledge, often through social media. Look at what happened several years ago with KFC when a few of their employees decided to take a bath in the kitchen sink and post the video! The company was forced into a reputation salvage mode.
So yes, companies these days — large and small — really need to stay in reputation manage mode and do all they can to make sure employees are treating customers fairly and, at the same time, do everything they can to adequately train and value their employees so that their conduct reflects positively upon the company.