Reputation management is probably the most difficult aspect of running any type of business. Regardless of a company’s size, be it a one-man enterprise, a partnership, or a corporation, having a positive reputation is a must. After all, who sells products with a bad reputation?
Reputation is different from just having an image. The latter is the result of an actual effort at projection by the brand. It is what the company wants their paying public to see. A reputation, however, is dependent on the customer’s perspective. It is an association with the brand and the company gleaned by customers via the company’s business model, their product or service, and the overall management of their relationship with their customers. Needless to say, managing a reputation is no easy feat.
It is therefore understandable that business owners always monitor their company’s and brand’s reputation. They want to make sure that they are in the customers’ good books at all times. Good thing there are fairly easy ways to do this. Here are some of them:
Track consumer data and use Sales Reports wisely
Traditional Sales Reports are mostly used to check on the performance of a particular product. The data is used to determine whether the company should release more of the product or make a few changes. Basically, when a Sales Report says that an item sells like pancakes, then more of the same item is produced and released on the market. But when the Report says otherwise, the product is either made over or completely recalled.
In reputation management, a Sales Report can be an important tool for assessing how the market responds to the brand and to the product. The Report can be broken down into several data categories. These categories can help tell which types of buyers have purchased the item, and provide brand insights according to buyer type. For example, a haircare product that promises softness and cleanliness is mostly purchased by consumers aged 20 and up. This means that these customers are likely to be active and to consider the brand as supportive of their lifestyle. These are the data that matter when the company adjusts their business model and campaigns to maintain a positive reputation.
Be responsive to customer enquiries and concerns
As mentioned, reputation is affected by the way a company relates and communicates with its customers. A company that takes a long time to respond to product and pricing enquiries might be seen as if it was not always reliable. On the other hand, a company that responds immediately shows that it is consistent in handling transactions. In the same way, a company that responds quickly to concerns and even complaints develops a customer-centric reputation and gains their customers’ trust. This is in direct contrast to a company that responds late, or worse, does not respond at all.
There is a grey area, though, that companies have to be careful of. There are customers who much rather prefer being responded to correctly, regardless of the time it takes. Some companies end up not responding well because of the desire to act on an enquiry as quickly as possible. This does the reputation of these companies more harm than good.
Monitor customer feedback on and offline
With the rise of the digital age, customer feedback has become easily obtainable. Companies need only put up social media accounts, websites, and blogs that their customers can easily access and use to send feedback. Comments on these platforms matter because companies find out how they can relate well with existing and potential customers.
However, business owners must take the time to gather customer feedback offline as well. Such feedback includes the number of attendees at an event, the number of product samples they were able to give out successfully, and even the enquiries they receive at onsite booths. There are still customers that are uniquely offline and these need to feel that they matter as much as online buyers. This will help create a reputation that the company is open to all and delivers the same quality to all of their clients regardless of their communication choices.
While maintaining a reputation is indeed complex, mindful business owners need not worry as long as they know what to look out for. They have to make sure that they use available resources and make an effort to augment them if it means better relations with their customers. It is important to remember that reputation can make or break a company, making reputation management of the utmost importance. Talk to us today and let our team at Affluence PR, your one-stop PR agency in Singapore, help you with taking care of your reputation, both on and offline.