Whether you are an established company or a brand new one, reputation building and maintenance is crucial to your business. Reputation must be built in person and with the importance of online ratings growing each year (link to ratings article), online “reputation maintenance” is a must.
What purpose does reputation have when it comes to business? As defined by Inc.com (http://www.inc.com/drew-hendricks/building-a-reputation-management-strategy-for-2015), “Reputation is what establishes your brand and drives revenue.” Of course, the most straightforward way to build this reputation involves providing a quality or service of the highest value to a customer. But even for companies who do this, a great product or service usually isn’t enough. The companies with the best reputation go above and beyond, remembering that the little things go a long way.
Ultimately, it’s the customer who can make or break your reputation, so take the time to give them the attention they deserve. Creating real-life personal relationships can help you leverage an online presence which is easier to spread to a wider audience. It’s important to always keep your promises to your customers. Remember: it’s always better to under-promise and then over-deliver than vise versa. Communicate these promises in a clear and professional manner in order to avoid confusion down the road.
Professionalism is key when it comes to building your reputation in other aspects as well. Whether you are encountering clients at a business meeting or in the grocery store, handle yourself with dignity. When respect for you as a person begins to form, respect for your brand will follow. On a larger scale, getting involved with your community can be a great way to both establish respect and increase your company’s exposure. Sponsoring a local 5k fun run can be a good place to start.
A professional online presence is also necessary. Whether you are responding to a customer’s facebook post or retweeting a relevant post, be cognisant of how these actions may affect a viewer’s attitude toward you. And don’t forget about the power of a great LinkedIn profile!
Though it is more of a passive approach, a professional website throws away any sort of clutter such as advertisements, making it easy to navigate and showing customers you are tech-savvy.
Keep in mind that no matter what, you and your company cannot please everyone– there will always be customers who find a problem with your prices or shipping time or product quality. What you can control however, is how you choose to respond to criticisms. In fact, responding to a customer complaint in a timely and respectful manner could actually improve your credibility. Here’s an article by Return Customer to help you navigate your most common customer complaints and appropriate responses (http://www.returncustomer.com/7-common-customer-complaints-and-how-to-respond/).
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