The estimation in which a person or thing is held;
especially by the community or the general public;
repute: a man of good reputation.
“A man (woman) of good reputation”.
If you are like me then that is definitely how I want to hear people talk about me and how I conduct business.
Reputation is everything in the Business World. Whether you’re an online company or a multi-billion dollar corporation, the need for a good reputation is absolutely essential to attract shareholders and build and maintain relationships with consumers and the general public.
It’s easy to build a reputation, but extremely difficult to build a positive one. Whether it’s by a crises, bad press or a customer complaint, bad management of image will often affect your company negatively and at times, companies with a bad name seldom recover.
For entrepreneurs, a bad personal reputation will extend to your brand’s reputation as well. If you do anything to damage either your own reputation or your company’s, you could destroy your business. When you make a promise to your customers, you need to walk the walk, not only talk the talk. It takes years to build a strong relationship with people and may take only seconds to break it. Nothing helps solidify long-term relationships, and your competitive position like an excellent reputation.
Try and avoid the following mistakes most often made by entrepreneurs which could really affect your reputation negatively:
- Not knowing who the prime audience for your company is.
- Not being transparent about mistakes that was made and how the same mistakes will be avoided in future.
- Handing the reins of their brand to an outsourced company who doesn’t necessarily have the same passion and feel for the brand as you do.
- When a mistake is made, not apologizing immediately and in the right way.
- Not letting your customers know who you are and also that you know who they are.
- Not being consistent enough.
- Not being available within a 24/7 period.
You might wonder how you can build a good reputation….and keep it. Here are a few basics points that you can keep in the back of your mind when conducting your day to day business:
- Your Business Values Need To Be Defined: By expressing the values that you want your business to stand for is the first step to making them an integral part of your everyday business operations. Draw up a mission statement that includes the values, integrity or loyalty that you want employees, customers, vendors etc. to associate with your company.
- You And Your Business Needs To Live Up To These Values: A mission statement will not do you any good if you can’t live up to it. Stick to what you and your business stand for. Don’t cut any corners. Believe me, people will notice and talk about it.
- Don’t Make Promised You Can’t Keep: One crucial aspect of any business is trust. If your business doesn’t have the trust of its employees or customers, it will have difficulty thriving. If you know you won’t be able to keep a promise, don’t make it in the first place.
- If There Is A Complaint Against Your Business, Sort It Out As Soon As Possible: Make time to sort out any concerns or complaints that a customer might have against you or your business. Let them know that you value what they have to say, and will act immediately to correct or sort out the situation.
- Treat Your Customers Fairly: Yes, customers can be very rude, screaming and cursing or posting hostile reviews about you online, but the way in which you will handle a difficult customer will speak for itself. If potential customers see that you treat even the worst customer fairly, they will definitely be impressed and word will get out about how you treat people and difficult situations.
- It’s Definitely OK To Defend Yourself Against False Claims: You have to face the facts that sometimes a customer will go beyond the range of DISSATISFIED and head straight into hostile territory. It’s important, especially with a customer that refuses to speak to you or to discuss the situation, to keep an eye out for false claims and calmly refute them where you can. There’s no point in letting damage collect on your business reputation.
- Pleasing Everyone Is Very Difficult: No business is perfect, not even yours. But if you treat all customers fairly and honestly, even if they don’t use your services anymore, they will still be happy that they did business with you.
- Involve Yourself In The Community: Doing good work as a business in the community will make customers aware not only of your business, but how you put it to use. This will do wonders for your reputation. But remember to do it with good intentions and not only because you can gain something out of it.
So remember to take building and protecting your business reputation seriously and make it a priority for your small business. Value your name and what you stand for very high!