As a business owner, your reputation is everything. Whether you are trying to get your name out there for the first time or are desperately looking to recover from not-so-positive circumstances, here is how you can overcome any obstacles and make your reputation work for you.
Make Good on Your Promises
Your customers and peers will always remember what you said you would do for them, so always be sure to only make promises that are feasible, and always deliver on them. Furthermore, don’t forget that your interactions with employees can also affect your ability to find candidates to fill future job openings. For example, if you don’t pay attention to workers compensation or help employees with injuries sustained at work, they may leave a bad review of your company on sites such as Glassdoor. As Crain Lewis Brogdon puts it, you are at least partially responsible for all injuries your employees sustain while working. Failure to follow through on your commitments can be detrimental to your reputation, and you could ultimately be deemed as untrustworthy. Loss of business usually follows, and once the bad word has been spread far enough, it may be difficult to retrieve those lost customers or attract new ones.
Accept That Not All Things Will Go Well
As with all things, nothing in business will always be perfect. There will be a few unsatisfied customers and even a couple of products and services that did not work out as planned. That is completely normal in the life of a business owner, so try not to get too hung up on situations that don’t go in your favor. Understand that mistakes are just a part of business. Of course, you want to work to minimize missteps in your company, but this isn’t always possible. What will really affect your reputation in a drastic way is whether you handled these mishaps effectively. Experts encourage businesses to call their clients directly when delivering bad news. EPMA explains, “A phone call to the customer’s point of contact will reaffirm that you are taking ownership of the problem and help the exchange of ideas be more fluid. Let them know what you are doing to try to alleviate the problem and probe for their feedback.” This step will go a long way toward preserving relationships with your clients.
Understand the Power of Reviews
In today’s world, potential customers can easily Google your company, and their findings may determine whether they will want to do business with you. Never underestimate the power of internet reviews; they directly affect your online reputation. According to Podium, “consumers who used to rely on word-of-mouth recommendations now rely on online reviews. In fact, over 80% of consumers trust reviews as much as they trust recommendations from family and friends.” If too many people report negative experiences with your company, it can diminish your brand and repel new prospects. If you have an unfortunate encounter with a customer, show compassion and try to correct the issue to avoid a negative review. Once customers have taken that step, they are less likely to remove the complaint.
If you come across a negative review and you still have the means to contact the customer to turn the situation around, you should do so. Subtly offer an incentive to remove the unfavorable comment. Be careful not to come off as pushy or desperate when doing this. To acquire positive reviews, create a memorable and smooth buying experience. You may even want to try offering a discount or coupon to go toward a customer’s next purchase.
Create a Strong Online Presence
Your online presence is a direct representation of your reputation, so you will want to create an attractive website as well as a responsive social media platform. By accessing your online content, a potential customer should get a thorough rundown of your products or services as well as your business hours, location, email address and phone number. WPBeginner explains, “free websites, or cheap websites look and feel like it, no matter how hard your try. They’re usually slow, frustrating to use, insecure, have bad advertisements and more that ultimately just hurts you.” Not only all of this, but if you appear sloppy online, viewers may not trust you.
Create a Personal Relationship With Your Customers
Whether you are the sole operator of your company or function with the help of a team, you should always try to make a personal connection with your customers. Of course, you will want to do this within reason and avoid being too open about unrelated topics so that you don’t appear unprofessional. The goal is to make every customer feel important and ensure that each interaction adds value to your business. If you and your staff members engage in small talk and further explain and back up your products and services, you will gain customers’ trust and respect.
No matter what has damaged your status in the past, you can always turn things around and restore your name. It may take a lot of work and dedication, but once you have re-established your reputation and acquired the mindset and techniques to keep it in a good state, you will consistently attract and retain customers.
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