There was once a time when a business relied solely on word of mouth to get recognition. Marketing strategies and concepts didn’t emerge until the early 1950’s, when advertising, product management, and other marketing efforts were first planned. Today, our business world has been modified by technological innovation and ever-growing marketing studies thanks to marketing pioneers like Philip Kotler, who is credited for proposing the societal marketing concept in the Harvard Business Review in 1972.
Though marketing techniques have indeed changed with time, the fact remains that it is the customers’ input what ultimately has the biggest weight in the reputation of any business. One misstep and your company, which may have taken years to create, is tainted but there are ways to control the direction of a business regarding its reputation.
Here are a handful of tactics that can help you retain and foster your business reputation.
1. Transparency and Honesty
Today, customers are initially skeptical of any new business or agency, especially if it is a corporation or a for-profit organization. The level of trust in business has been steadily declining in the past decade due to perceived greed, corruption, and lack of transparency. Be honest with your clients. Been unclear or indirect about prices or return policies is a red flag from the start. It’s better to let the customer decide whether or not the product is worth buying rather than leading them into a deal that they weren’t prepared to be in. Being an “open book” – from the good news to the bad news- builds trust with your customers and will give your company undying credibility.
2. Consistency In Quality
It feels great to receive that five-star rating from your customer’s first experience at your business because you know that they received top-quality service. But, it shouldn’t end there. You must make sure that they receive that experience every time and that their good experience goes beyond the doors of the store.
- Look for areas of improvement -from the small details to the big picture. Air quality, aromas, music, and overall comfort of your client all are part of customer service. Get down to the small details, because customers DO notice these things and DO appreciate them. And of course, it is a given to look for those larger areas of improvement. Make sure that your employees are representing your brand name well and are keeping your customers well informed on what is new. Ask your customers if they need help before they ask. Let them know and make them feel that you are there for them.
- Maintain your inventory. You don’t want your customer to be waiting weeks for a product to come back onto the shelves. You will most likely lose that customer to another business that does keeps their inventory stocked and consistent.
- Keep your website up to date. Making sure that your website is constantly being updated and maintained is a crucial part of business reputation. A good website shows that your business is putting in the effort to have quality customer care all-around from on-site to off-site. If a website is of poor quality, who is to say that service or products aren’t also of poor quality? Would you trust a business website whose online menu is inaccurate or of poor standards? I think not.
3. Get Your Customers Talking
Find ways to get a good word out. Ask your customers to write positive reviews on your Facebook page or through review platforms such as Yelp or Google Reviews. It is helpful to send emails or automated text messages to your clients that can lead them to a review page. Rannko’s Review Management software allows clients to leave reviews on multiple platforms in one go, making it easy and simple to create a positive online presence.
Another time-tested and effective way to ensure great client testimonial is to have an in-house guest book that customers can write in. Take their words and publish them onto your website, through a social media post, or in your weekly e-newsletters.
4. Exceptional Support
A successful business will always view their clients as a priority. Respond to emails in a timely manner making sure to resolve any issues they may have. If the issue is not in your hands, be professional and tactful in dealing with the matter. The same can be applied to phone calls. There shouldn’t be a call or voicemail left unanswered.
Consider your customer’s critiques and suggestions. You will ultimately have the final say in the decision making, so listen to what your customers have to say. Perhaps it will enlighten you towards new ideas. After listening to their voice, thank them and assure them that you will take their words into consideration. This will give your clients confidence in you and your business, translating to a good business reputation.
5. Showcase Yourself
Nowadays, almost all businesses should use social media to show themselves off. It’s a great way to give personality and to add color to your brand name. Facebook and Instagram are good examples of media sites that can help in showcasing. Even if it’s just one post per week, social media provides a great opportunity to add information to your company in a graphic way.
Meerkat Social is one of the many great ways that helps build your brand reputation through social media. It integrates Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, creating automated and scheduled posts, making it super quick and easy to showcase yourself. With this platform, there’s no excuse to not have your business on social media.