What do your clients and customers think of your business? How about investors? Partners? Employees? It’s your responsibility to make sure people think well of your company. The execution can be quite hard when you don’t know where to start.
The pressure is higher than ever. If you do it wrong, people will rush to their smartphones to bash you on social media. But, if you do it right, you’ll earn new, loyal customers who will help you grow your business to new dimensions.
Put Your Best Face Forward
This goes for you — the entrepreneur. Always stick to the three P’s— be professional, positive, and polite. Make sure to always dress well. As the chief representative of your business, you should always be ‘on’. You never know who’s watching.
Face your audience when talking in public. Stand with a tall, confident stance with your feet pointed at your audience.
Go the Extra Mile
Customer service will never be out of fashion. Nor it will ever go unnoticed. Amazon has become a renowned brand thanks to its great client care.
When someone tells you they received bad service, offer to make it right. If a customer is calling you and complaining about a product, offer to exchange the product quickly. Do not wait for them to request a return. When you can, try to include unexpected services, free of charge.
Keep the Employees Happy
Going the extra mile also means having a great reputation among your employees. Clients notice when employers don’t treat their workers well. When that happens, consumers may like your products, services, and prices, but they won’t think much of your business.
Disgruntled workers can easily become disengaged workers. And, disengaged workers offer bad customer service. To make sure your employers think well of their workplace, show them the respect they deserve.
Avoid micromanaging. Instead, try to treat employees as coworkers. Listen to their concerns. Offer benefits that will show how much you appreciate their work. At the end of every workday, make sure to thank them.
Get Your Branding Right
Branding is important as it goes hand in hand with reputation. While reputation makes you credible, branding makes you relevant. Branding encompasses your brand values, visual identity (logo, colours, fonts), and voice identity (communication style, tagline, tone).
Think carefully about how you want people to perceive you. What do you stand for? Incorporate your stance into your branding. Ensure your branding is consistent across all platforms—online and offline. Since this can be a tough nut to crack, it may be a good idea to hire a branding expert to help you.
Solicit Reviews, Politely
According to Bright Local’s survey, 86% of customers read reviews. Your business is not what you think it is. It’s what Google Search says it is. You’d want to have more than four stars because 57% of respondents claimed they’d only go with businesses that have four stars or more.
Ask clients and customers to leave reviews. It will brand you as a reputable business and lend you legitimacy. For that, you need to rely on your existing customer base. They can paint quite a nice picture of your company when they’re in a good mood.
You can ask them by sending email follow-ups, or you can do it at the point of sale. The key is not to annoy them. You won’t capitalise on customer loyalty by being ‘spammy’ and pestering them. Consider offering incentives. Vouchers and freebies can take you far.
Respond to Reviews
According to the same survey, 89% of customers read businesses’ responses to reviews. Easy, you just copy-paste ‘thank you’ a couple of times, right? Wrong. There will always be negative nancies. Some competitors may be playing dirty and leaving such reviews as well.
You must respond to their reviews—publicly. If you fail to do so, you could lose prospects who are checking out your company online. Seize the chance to redeem your reputation.
Be humble. Offer solutions (e.g., discount or refund). If you can, guarantee such mistakes won’t happen again. Naturally, not all complaints are valid. In such cases, say something along the lines of, ‘There’s must’ve been a miscommunication since…’ or ‘I’m sorry for your frustration’.
Don’t fight the customer’s complaint with paragraph statements. It could make you look bad. You can go the extra step again and respond privately as well. If possible, email or call to solicit more information about the incident and offer to rectify the situation. Scour social media, review platforms, and Google regularly to monitor mentions.
Successful businesses are reliable and trustworthy. But, if you want to have a good reputation, don’t go ‘full-corporate’. Dial up your human side. Develop a friendly, genuine tone. Use honesty and humour when speaking to individuals. Coming off as a light-hearted business on social media will make people feel like you’re a friend they can rely on.