If you look back on the most successful businesses in history—Apple, Ford, Amazon—they all have at least one thing in common: a great reputation. This signature reputation is what has helped position these companies as some of the most successful in the world.
Conversely, it’s easy to see how companies that have battled bad reputations have dealt with the consequences of failure. Following an aggressive incident with a passenger, United Airlines suffered a near $1 billion loss in value. Word travels fast—especially in the digital age—so maintaining a great business reputation is more important than ever.
But how do you change perspectives and keep your business performing at the top of its customer service game at all times? We’re giving you some tips to help you enhance—and maintain—your business reputation.
Provide top-quality service
The start of a great reputation begins with excellent customer service and of course a high-quality product or service. Put your best foot forward with every customer service interaction and make sure to follow up with your customers to ensure they’re satisfied. Send out a survey, ask them to review your business, or ask them in person!
Your staff is a key component in this equation, so make sure they regularly attend employee training and development sessions to represent your business in the most positive light at all times.
Utilize customer feedback
You’ve seen those “People Love Us on Yelp” stickers in business windows and you’ve likely been asked by another business to review your service experience. But have you ever asked yourself as a business owner—why are customer reviews important?
Let’s take a look at some statistics:
- Only 57% of consumers would use a business with a three star rating
- 94% of consumers would use a business with a four star rating
- 90% of consumers think that reviews are more important than information from a salesperson
If that’s not enough to convince you to clean up your review platform, consider this. Before the internet era began and you needed to find a mechanic, plumber, or repair shop, what did you do? You called a friend, a neighbor, or a family member for recommendations because you trusted their opinion.
You can think of these review platforms as networks of your family, friends, and peers whom you trust. Whether you have excellent reviews and ratings on your profile could make a big impact on how much business you generate or how your business declines in popularity.
Regardless of where you side on the fast food debate, you can probably surmise why these chain restaurants are so successful, no matter where they’re located. If you visit a McDonald’s or Taco Bell in New Jersey and then one in Spain, you can expect the same quality, branding, and customer service with each business location. Consistency is key to creating brand awareness and establishing a base of loyal customers.
Every word counts
There’s a reason the most profitable companies in the world have a top-notch team of PR professionals on their payroll. While you don’t necessarily need to hire this level of expertise for your small business, you should still put basic PR principles into practice to ensure your business’ reputation remains positive and consistent—even if you do face a marketing disaster or challenge to your business’ character.
Follow these public relations tips to guide your communication with customers and the public:
- Know your audience: When communicating with your customer base, it’s important to speak to your audience on the channels they’re familiar with. Younger audience might prefer to connect over social media for example, while older audiences may use email more.
- Be responsive: Get a bad review? Respond. Earn a great review? Acknowledge. No matter what the comment or inquiry is about, you should always make an effort to communicate with your customers—thank them, offer specials, and address concerns, no matter how busy you are.
- Be intentional: Whenever you’re representing your business, you should take each and every word into consideration as you communicate with the public. Even one wrong word choice on a statement or social media post can damage your reputation, so make sure you’re ready to share and prepared for feedback, each time you communicate.
With access to more information than ever, managing your business’ reputation continues to be an increasingly important facet in business strategy. Follow these tips to enhance your business reputation and watch your profits grow!