Reputation: It’s often said to be your greatest asset and your biggest risk. It’s what others think of you, your brand, your business and it sets you apart from your competition.
Warren Buffett famously says, "It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently."
So here are some quick tips to ensure you look after yours.
Be clear on what your business wants to be known for
When you understand your brand style and values, it becomes easier to build a reputation around it.
For example, if your business aims to be known for providing the best coffee in town, then that’s where you need to put your effort.
Use every opportunity to make sure that your target audience (coffee drinkers) know who you are (raised awareness) and how well you make coffee (consistently great coffee that people talk about).
This is a simple equation to increase your desirability to potential customers and, as a result, increase business.
Ensure that everything you develop to promote your business is consistent. Is everyone involved in your business promoting the same message?
For example, if excellent service is what you want to be known for, make sure that whoever in your team is responsible for delivering that understands how important it is to the business. Then look at all other customer contact points such as response times, contact details, marketing material etc - are they all being consistent in conveying the same message?
Don't lose customers by being inconsistent.
Value your customers
One of the best company slogans ever created was,” we never forget you have a choice”. Sound advice for anyone in business.
Unless you are offering an absolutely unique product or service, you have to work really hard to establish what sets you apart and drives customers to you.
There are some products and services that customers will remain loyal to no matter what, but the majority are ‘floating customers’ and are looking for a uniqueness that suits them – it may be competitive pricing, service, values, sustainability amongst others – so where does your business fit?
Trust and integrity
Build trust with your customers so they expect that you will deliver on what you promise – whether it’s a good coffee, a fixed pipe or a great banking experience.
If you consistently deliver what you promise, not only will you retain customers, you are likely to have them talk about you positively and ensure your business gets noticed.
Spread the word
Get people talking about your business…in the right way of course!!
There’s nothing like a third party endorsement to boost your reputation. Get reviewed in the right places. Build online content that engages with existing and potential customers using the most appropriate channel.
It’s so easy nowadays to seek an opinion online quickly before making a purchasing decision of any kind so make sure you can be found by potential customers, and, when you are, that it showcases your business well.
It’s vital to have a presence online in whatever capacity suits your business brand. It’s also important to know what’s being said about you. Make sure that any customer comments, enquiries or complaints through these channels are dealt with quickly before they become a problem.
It’s quite a commitment for a business to manage but it can be very successful in managing customer relations if done well.
Remember every customer “always has a choice”!
Fiona Fenwick helps individuals and businesses unleash their ability to stand out from the competition.
She is also a professional speaker and advisor on reputation and personal brand management.