The margin of error for small business owners has never been as small as it is these days. Thanks to the web, the competition has never been this huge and the bad word travels further than ever before. Because of this, all small business owners need to be sure that at least their reputation is good and that it is something that will actually attract new customers, instead of pushing away the existing ones.
But, how does exactly a modern business owner keep his or her small business reputable.
Above everything else, it comes down to honoring the deals that you have made. This does not only work for service providers. If, for example, you run a very local bait shop, you have entered a deal with your customers and your potential customers that you will provide a certain product of a certain quality at a certain price. Honoring deals may be more obvious with services, but even small businesses that sell or manufacture products need to honor their deals. Not honoring your deals means letting down your customers and letting down your customers is the quickest way to a catastrophic reputation hit. A hit your business might never recover from.
Protecting Your Integrity
Over the course of a company’s life, there will come times when certain parties may question the integrity of your company and the way you run it. For instance, some parties may come forward saying that you have not fulfilled certain terms of a contract of some kind. This is where commercial litigation can rear its ugly but necessary head. You cannot have people putting your reputation in danger without responding. Hire a company that provides litigation support services and take back your reputation.
Improving Your Customer Service
Customer service is becoming more and more important as people are getting jaded due to a variety of reasons. Simply put, if your customer service is not stellar, it will be seen as sub-par. It has really come to this. Because of this, you should always emphasize the importance of great customer service within your organization. Your people need to understand that customer service lapses will not be tolerated. Also, in case you are automating any aspect of your customer service, make sure to allow your customers to talk to real people, too. Recent studies show that people still want a human customer service.
Monitoring the Web
These days, companies’ reputations can be destroyed online with just a few bad reviews or outbursts from dissatisfied customers. Restaurant owners have notoriously had to struggle with bad Yelp reviews that can easily drive people away from their door. With all the different social media platforms out there, there is no knowing who might badmouth your company. The important thing is to know how to deal with this by engaging dissatisfied customers, learning why they hated the experience and offering both your apologies and possible solutions.
Admitting Your Mistakes
If you make a mistake, own up to it. There is nothing worse than companies trying to weasel their way out of something that was clearly their mistake. It makes them seem unprofessional or even incompetent. If you cannot admit you have made a mistake, your customer might think that you do not know what a mistake is. Why would they do business with someone who does not understand their business? It is all very common sense.
All of the world’s biggest companies admit when they make mistakes. Sure, they may sugarcoat their apologies and use vague language, but at the very core of it, they admit their mistakes. You simply have to do this. Companies that admit their mistakes and work towards remedying them keep their reputation.
In the end, it is all about that. Keeping your reputation intact.
About our writer // Dan Radak is a marketing professional with ten years of experience. He is a coauthor on several websites and regular contributor to BizzMark Blog. Currently, he is working with a number of companies in the field of digital marketing, closely collaborating with a couple of e-commerce companies.