There is a famous saying that goes like this: ”It takes a lifetime to build a reputation – and it only takes a few moments to ruin it….” Do you believe it to be true?
Think about how hard businesses have to work to build a good reputation in the marketplace. Business owners pour their blood, sweat and tears into creating a brand that has a good reputation. In most cases, the business owners spend more time at their place of business- than with their families. The business becomes their “baby” – and a good reputation is what they have been working so hard for.
The sad fact is – most business owners are not into the correct Reputation Mindset for 2013. Customer behavior has (and will continue to) change at an alarming rate. The customer has more control now than they have had in 50 years. Customers are demanding a certain level of service and if they do not get it – even if it was not directly the businesses fault – they are going to the INTERNET and talking about it. The results this can have on a business are absolutely devastating
Developing A Reputation Mindset
Social Media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus (and a host of other social networking sites) connect the consumers in ways that have never been seen. Smart phones accelerate communication by offering “real time” collaboration – on any subject, at any time –> ANYWHERE. Think about that – because it is a HUGE concept to swallow. Allow me to elaborate so that you can get your mind around how big Online Reputation is:
Well known author Gary Vaynerchuk wrote a book a few years ago that absolutely nailed it: ”The Thank You Economy”. He gives the analogy of how businesses need to take a 1940 “butcher shop” mentality. Get to know your customers, treat them exceptionally well and ALWAYS make sure your actions promote a 5 Star Reputation. I couldn’t agree more with Gary’s analogy — and I will further the point by saying this (business owners PLEASE pay attention to this point): It isn’t the loud, obnoxious customer that will deliver the devastating blow to your future business…. It’s the quite guy in the corner with 100,000 twitter followers you just ignored. The guy that you forget to say hello to… the guy who won’t tell you what the problem is – he would rather share it to his 100K twitter followers. That’s the guy that is going to KILL YOUR FUTURE BUSINESS.
Businesses must develop a Reputation Mindset and SYSTEM to make sure the voice of the happy customer is heard- online. They must develop this mindset and implement very specific systems to make sure that an attack on their reputation doesn’t put them out of business.
How to Develop a Reputation Mindset
Developing a reputation mindset starts by identifying key areas in your business where customers are usually the most happy AND unhappy. It’s important to identify any trends and document them so you can go to work on them. If there is a point in your sales process where you are noticing customers are edgy or unhappy – DOCUMENT it and work on a solution to fix it. If there is a part of your sales process where people are exceptionally happy – DOCUMENT IT – and go to work developing a system where they leave a positive review (preferably online).
Solicit feedback from your customers regularily. This will help you identify areas of your business where issues may be. If you notice a customer is not happy — DO NOT IGNORE IT. Ask them for their feedback- preferably in a controlled manner. If a customer doesn’t say anything at all – ENGAGE THEM! Ask “How was your visit today” – or something to that effect. Train your entire staff to work on getting feedback from your customers and ENGAGE with them regularily during their time with your business.
Develop a “Thank You” Culture in your business. It starts from the TOP down. Everything you do in your business should be built around the customers experience. Routinely train your staff to build an exceptional customer experience. When they see a customer is happy – train your staff to solicit online reviews. If your staff see’s an unhappy customer – train them to get them to leave feedback so that you can FIX the problem.
It ALL starts with Developing a Reputation Mindset. The systems and strategies to grow a 5 star reputation may differ; however, the mindset is the same. Focus on your customers experience and find a strategy to capture customers when they are happy – then make it EASY for them to tell the world about it !