How is your business seen in your community, by your customers, by your suppliers, by your partners?
How do your customers, suppliers, partners, staff talk about you to others?
Are those unfamiliar with your business getting a good impression? Is it likely they will do business with you based upon what they hear, read, and experience?
Are these things important to you?
If you’re not managing it, someone else is creating it… “it” is your reputation… online and offline.
You might think of reputation management as simply online reviews; and you’d be partially correct. But it’s more than that. Reputation management is the practice of attempting to shape the perception the public has of your business by influencing the information about your business.
Reputation used to be easier to manage… it took a top-down approach. Companies would create and distribute information to shape people’s opinion of them or their products. There was some word-of-mouth (good and bad) but it was localized. Today however, a company’s reputation is often created for them. Today people expect good service, people (both you, the business owner, and your customers) are busy living and working so saying something great about you gets lost among the other things on the daily to-do list, and the internet has provided a platform to amplify what a few unhappy folks might be saying about your company. But the internet allows you to amplify your voice too, you just need to know how. Unless you’re on top of it, your reputation is being created for you and it becomes difficult to manage once it has been shaped from the bottom-up.
Now you know what it is and intuitively you can probably figure out why it’s important… it will impact your financial performance – both top and bottom line. Bad reputation = lower sales; bad reputation = unfavorable financial terms. Having a great reputation will create an element of trust even before a potential client comes to you or buys from you, it helps create loyal customers that come back over-and-over, and it enables confident referrals from customers and strategic partners.
So, what makes up your reputation? Well, there are many things: reviews, how you respond to issues, the quality of your work, what you say, and how you act. And when I say “you” I mean your business and everyone in it… how your staff works, what they say, and what they do reflects on your business. Customers don’t see your staff as separate from your business so your systems should set expectations for performance.
Now we have a mutual understanding of what reputation management is, why it’s important, the impact it can have, and what reputation management is made up of. So, how do we manage reputation? Reputation is managed online and offline. Reputation needs to be managed proactively… before others create your reputation for you. NOTE: if you’ve been in business for any amount of time, you probably already have a reputation. If it’s good you can make it great; if it’s not, don’t worry, start improving it now. Your reputation can be built (or improved) using the below tactics.
The following 10 (+ 1 BONUS) items are elements that I believe are key to managing your reputation.
You may feel overwhelmed by all these things… start out by doing a few and you’ll begin building your reputation online and offline. Once you’ve got things going add more elements of this plan, it’s really the combination of all these elements working together that will kick things into high gear. Providing great service and content to your ideal customers/clients; getting great reviews and building social proof; speaking and being seen as an authority on your subject; using the tools to capture and respond to feedback in an authentic way; and having the systems in place to ensure your customer’s journey is a great experience will, collectively, capture referrals, facilitate partnerships, and create a buzz online and offline that will mute detractors and trolls and amplify the great reputation you have or want to build.
Again, this is a lot of stuff. To get you started, I’m offering you an opportunity to check out what people are saying about you now online. Head over to www.client-reviews.com for a FREE Review Scan to generate an instant reputation report and see how your business appears on local review sites.
If you need help with any of these items or if you’re in the Las Vegas valley and want to chat over coffee or cocktails contact me, I’m here to help, my reputation matters to me too.
I have been in project management and process improvement for over 15 years working for large and small for-profit companies, associations, and not-for-profit organizations. After working in hospitality management for over 10 years, I underwent a career change moving into technology, working for GE. It was there I began working in project management and process improvement; training with GE's Six Sigma program. Later my career had me working with Constellation Energy in Baltimore, Caesars Entertainment in Las Vegas, and eventual transitioning into consulting working for federal agencies and most recently an industry association in the utility sector. I enjoy working with and helping small and medium-sized organizations build value in their business through strategy, project execution, systemization, and marketing.