What your business has to offer is important, but your reputation is what can really set your sales on fire.
Of course, the converse is true too. No matter how good your product is, if customers don’t trust you or have a good experience with you, your long-term livelihood is in danger.
Even though businesses have always benefited from a good reputation, today it is more important than ever. Your customers are just a simple search away from reading all of the good and the bad others are saying about your business. And about your competition too.
Your reputation is the social proof that can often set you apart and win you clients, or leave prospects searching for another solution.
So today, we’re covering simple steps you can take to improve your business’s reputation.
1. Commit to Great Customer Service
Most businesses provide decent customer service. They offer generic apologies when mistakes are made (ie. “We apologize for your inconvenience), and take care of customer issues when they arise.
Some businesses put little effort at all into service – with all of their energy (and staff resources) going into sales. Customers who raise issues are treated like annoyances rather than valued clients.
And on the other end of the spectrum are the businesses that provide top-tier service and have customer-centric policies that people love them for.
The third group is where you want to be. Go out of your way to serve customers with professionalism, integrity, and fairness. Ensure that every customer-facing employee is friendly, positive, and patient. Not just after the sale, but before the sale as well. That means putting client needs and interests ahead of closing deals.
Do that, and you’ll earn loyal clients who sing your praises, and swear by your service.
2. Monitor What People Say About Your Business
It’s much harder to solve reputational problems if you only find out about them when they go viral. That’s why it’s smart to monitor mentions of your business online.
You can do this easily by setting up Google Alerts for your business. Google will then let you know whenever your business gets mentioned online.
Naturally, you should monitor web properties that collect business reviews as well. These will vary based on the industry you’re in (ie. Yelp, Google, Capterra, Seamless, Glassdoor, TrustPilot) but there are often many that you’ll need to monitor.
If someone has a negative experience with your business, you can get in touch with them right away to resolve the issue, or offer a reasonable reply that could mitigate the mistake or misunderstanding – or at the very least, show readers of the complaint that you care and strive to right wrongs when they occur.
3. Encourage Reviews
Incentivizing positive reviews isn’t wise, but earning and encouraging them certainly is. The same web review properties you monitor for bad reviews, are great places to direct existing clients for honest ones. If you’re doing things right, you’ll find a lot of people willing to spend a few minutes talking about their positive experience.
4. Show Customer Appreciation
One of the ironic parts about customer service is that the friendly customers often get no reward, while the customers who fly off the handle over any inconvenience get all kinds of perks from businesses looking to keep them happy.
When you have good customers, you should show them your appreciation. They’ll be more likely to continue using your business and to spread positive word of mouth. Unexpected gestures can really surprise and delight your clients with benefits that reach far and wide.
Most importantly, even small gestures of appreciation are effective.
You can show appreciation by sending a customer a free item on occasion or giving them a small extra discount. Be creative and you’ll find plenty of ways to show customers you value them.
5. Engage with People on Social Media
Social media marketing is vital for almost any business, but you shouldn’t just use social media as a promotional tool. The real purpose is to engage with others.
Encourage clients and customers to reach out to you and connect with you there. Respond to any messages and comments you get, positive and negative. Even a quick “thank you” when someone leaves a friendly comment goes a long way.
And consider interacting with your clients social activity too. When you like, comment and share posts using your business’s social media accounts, it will make people like your business more because they’ll feel a stronger connection to it.
6. Be Reachable!
A surefire way to get complaints is to leave customers feeling like they can’t get help when they need it. When emails don’t get a response, when calls aren’t returned, when social media messages aren’t answered, THAT is when people are most likely to vent their frustrations in a way that becomes public.
Be reachable, and you’re often able to solve problems before they ever become, well… a problem.
Wrapping Up 6 Ways to Help Improve Your Business’s Reputation…
Reputation is a huge part of your business’s success. With the right strategy, your business can easily build and maintain an excellent reputation – and that will bring prospects in the door, and make selling a whole lot easier.
To recap, here are six ways to improve your business’s reputation:
- Provide great customer service to everyone who contacts your business.
- Monitor mentions of your business to stay on top of potential problems.
- Be worthy of good reviews, and then encourage clients to leave them.
- Find ways you can show appreciation for good customers.
- Use social media to connect with people.
- Be reachable so that questions and issues can be addressed before they escalate.