A business' reputation can be its most valuable asset.
A good reputation has to be earned by your clients and customers - it can’t be bought. So when your reputation is good, the work, the enquiries and the leads will often come directly through to you via word of mouth. This powerful marketing tool is free and often neglected.
Why do so many businesses focus on quantity over quality?
In my experience some businesses have had great success by playing the “numbers” game in the past with fast quantity-focused solutions, but this success is too often short lived if they don’t also focus on the quality of their customer service and/or product.
Customers are powerful, they know their rights, and they are not afraid to complain, by using the instant convenient medium of social media. This means reputations can be all the more fragile than they were in years gone by.
Just look at Volkswagen and the story that unfolded about the lies they are alleged to have told about car emissions. Once this story was discovered by the media it went instantly global, as the word spread, leaving a great reputation built over decades, in taters. Another big concern for a businesses reputation nowadays is also security and data protection, most recently affecting TalkTalk’s reputation as nearly 157,000 customers may have had their personal and banking details accessed by hackers.
What makes a great reputation?
A great reputation requires your clients to trust you, so transparency, accountability and collaboration is important, especially when introducing new solutions and products.
If the client feels that the product or service is truly meeting their needs and, better still, involves personalisation and great customer service, they will start to trust your brand. But you need to be consistent in your delivery. If you deliver great service to one client but not to another, your reputation will suffer for it. Research has proven that “Bad emotions, bad parents and bad feedback have more impact than good ones” * which is why, one negative review holds more weight than the many positive ones.
In the services industry the individual counts - your individual employees matter. When they all either individually, or as a team, work in partnership with the client, listen and deliver effective personalised solutions, your reputation can really sky rocket. I personally make sure that we invest in our employee training and culture to assure this level of high quality.
Importantly though it doesn’t stop there.
Working for a recruitment agency, we ask all our clients and candidates for their feedback after we’ve provided a service. Continual improvement helps a business to improve and grow. Never ignore a problem. As long as issues are addressed and communicated quickly and effectively, with measure put in place to prevent them happening again, a reputation can be kept in tact.
In recruitment, I have heard clients say that they feel that they are a “number” rather than a person; a money stream, instead of a collaborative partner. Thankfully this has been when talking about other agencies. We’re investing in our staff as well as our solutions, as we look to build on the 18 year reputation we have built up. It’s not an easy journey, but it’s necessary as the markets we work in change and grow. We must grow with them to make sure that our reputation stands the test of time.
What are you doing to protect your reputation?
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Rachael is Client Solutions Director at First Recruitment Group.