As Warren Buffet put it, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it”. In other words, your reputation can make or break you.
For businesses this is especially apt. Good reputations are a great way to build loyalty and increase customer confidence in your brand and product. But one ill-judged tweet or tap of the send button could cause devastating reputational damage.
Now that your customers are on the internet a lot more, online conversations about your brand are taking place 24/7. This is through a host of different platforms, from social media and blogs, to online forums. Exceptional service will now not only earn restaurants a good tip but a positive Tripadvisor review, which is far more impactful.
We’ve compiled these tips to help you not only win the respect of your customers, but hopefully a bit of business too.
1. Choose the right place to advertise
When it comes to your customers, they’re more likely to do business with a company they trust. So it makes sense to advertise in your local news title, the most trusted sources of information in the UK.
Trust is the most important business and brand asset you manage, especially in relationships with customers, clients and employees. Your customers won’t want to buy a product – or even click on an ad – from a company that produces, or is affiliated with, disingenuous content.
If you want to build or uphold a positive reputation, think carefully about the environment you choose for your ads. Advertising with trusted publishers, will not only increase the impact of your campaigns, but protect your customer relationships.
Want to learn more? Read our article on why advertising in a trusted title is important.
2. Make sure your online listings are in order
Every year it becomes more important for businesses like yours to have a positive online presence. This means making sure all the online information relating to your company is accurate and up-to-date.
The best place to start is by keeping your business information consistent, accurate and complete across a range of online business directories. Not doing so might have a negative effect on your Google ranking.
New research has found that 97% of consumers check a company’s online presence before deciding to visit them, so it’s important that you make the best first impression. The same goes for any out-of-date telephone numbers or contact details. If a prospect calls a disconnected number, they might also disconnect from your brand.
3. Have and manage customer reviews
Encouraging feedback is a great way to tear down those barriers between your company and the customer. However, it’s not enough to just open your website up to customer reviews, you need to manage them.
Navigating the complex waters of reputation and online reviews is a great skill and businesses don’t always get it right. There will be negative reviews right alongside the positive ones, so keep your responses polite and courteous and you’ll impress both your current and potential customers.
Online reviews are critical to the success of a local business, with nine out of 10 consumers worldwide reading reviews before buying products. So tread carefully, and they will do nothing but build up your reputation.
4. Keep your branding and messaging consistent
If you want your target audience to develop an affinity for your brand (and steal them away from competitors), you need to keep your visual identity and key messaging consistent.
Start with your brand colours, logo and typography. Are you using the same font on your website as across your social media accounts? If not, then you’re creating an uneven personality that may not stand out in consumers’ minds, and will appear unprofessional.
Now move on to your messaging and tone of voice. Consider what you want to convey through your social posts and promotional materials and make sure they speak in the same tone and style. Writing down some simple branding guidelines is a simple but effective way of ensuring everything is aligned.
Check out our article on finding your brand voice for further information on branding
5. Deliver good customer service
It’s obvious that bad customer service can impact your business, but it doesn’t have to break you down.
Sometimes someone will have an issue with your product or service, it’s inevitable. But make sure you’re providing good customer service by listening attentively, solving the problem quickly, and even offering a small gift or discount as a friendly gesture.
It’s important to remember that the way you treat the customer will not only affect their own experience with you, but all the other people they tell about it. 72% of consumers will share a positive experience with 6 or more people, so keep making your customers happy and they’ll have nothing but nice things to say.
6. Get involved in your community
Your brand is more than what you sell, it is a connection to your customers and the local community. Consider how you can strengthen this connection through your advertising content.
Nevermind if you’re a large business with thousands of employees or a small independent, you can still create powerful content that will make an impact on your local customers.
Start by setting up a business profile on Twitter, Facebook and even Linkedin and writing a few locally relevant social media and blog posts. Simply referencing a local festival or congratulating the local football team on a recent win, are great ways to relate personally with your customer base.
Why not go a step further and sponsor a local event. Offering your products and services to organisers and attendees will not only promote your business but create real human connections with potential customers.
Our local events team have continued to deliver despite the pandemic. Contact them for information on sponsorship or how to host your own virtual or in-person event.
Take control of your reputation
Even the biggest brands have problems with their reputation from time to time. But what matters is how you handle them when they come your way.
Be proactive in your approach to reputation management. Keep an eye on what people are saying and remember – every piece of criticism is just an opportunity for growth and reflection.