A good reputation is hard to establish, but unfortunately much easier to tarnish. Once a reputation is damaged, the word can get around quickly, making it difficult to repair.
While this is true for individual’s it is also important for businesses. For instance, the successful food chain Chipotle struggled with sales for more than a year after a high-profile e Coli outbreak in their restaurants. A single incident can do permanent damage to a brand.
Since your company’s corporate reputation dictates what customers think when they see your brand, it is essential to guard and maintain it. Here are some ways to safeguard your company’s reputation.
Listen to Your Customers
Every company makes mistakes. It is unavoidable that you will have dissatisfied customers. It is not unavoidable, however, for those customers to remain unsatisfied.
A great way to identify unhappy customers is by reading your online reviews. While it can be difficult to read negative reviews, it’s essential to do so. This will help you identify what your business’s blind spots are.
Respond to Customers Respectfully
88% of customers trust online reviews.
So, when you leave negative reviews unacknowledged, you are giving that unhappy customer the ability to tarnish your reputation with other customers.
When you come across negative reviews, be as objective as possible, and hear the customer out. Then, if possible, reach out to the customer and try to make the situation right. Acknowledging the legitimacy of the customer’s experience and repairing the problem can do a lot to improve your reputation.
Always Tell the Truth
Often, it is not the initial mistake that does the most to harm a company’s reputation. It is the cover-up that follows.
Take the Chipotle e Coli example, for instance. While it was certainly problematic that Chipotle’s food was contaminated, customers were even more offended by the restaurant’s attempt to hide the problem.
As we said before, things will go wrong in your business. When they do, do your due diligence to come out in front of the problem, and let your customers know how you plan to make it right.
Care About What Customers Care About
Modern consumers, especially millennials, want to support businesses that share their values. For this reason, a great way to boost your corporate reputation is by showing customers in your target market that you care about the same thing.
For instance, many customers prefer businesses with practices that are good for the environment and good for their employees. Spending extra money to be eco-friendly and to treat your employees well can go a long way in improving your reputation.
Maintaining a Positive Corporate Reputation
With these tips in mind, you will be able to establish a corporate reputation that will draw customers to your business, rather than pushing them away.
If you would like to learn more about how to improve your company’s reputation, you can request a free reputation audit. This service will help you identify what features of your reputation are effective, and which need more work.