Brands are fragile. Everything we do and say strengthens or undermines the reputation of our brand in the marketplace.
It’s not just everything we do and say that influences our business and our brand reputation. Everything our staff do and say has a significant impact on it too!
It’s Not About Perfection
To have a strong brand reputation does not mean we or our staff need to be perfect, or do everything perfectly. It’s a worthy goal, that is impossible for mere mortals to achieve!
What it does mean is this: when things don’t go perfectly, or when we outright mess up, we own up and fix the problem. And we fix the problem with a great attitude. We go above and beyond what is expected of us. And, we do it with a smile (or at least a pleasant look) on our face.
It also means that there are times when we own problems that are not of our making. Maybe somebody else messed up or maybe the customer did. It’s not about assigning blame. It’s about taking care of the problem and the customer.
Treating Customers With Respect
At the end of the day, it means treating our customers and those who are not yet and may never be, customers as we would want to be treated.
In fact, for owners and staff working in any area that provides direct care to customers, it’s helpful to take a serious look at how we would want to be treated. And, how we wouldn’t want to be treated if we were a customer.
Asking ourselves a few questions can help us better understand our customers and how to deliver great service.
Questions like, what would …
- annoy us?
- thrill us?
- frustrate us?
- makes us feel valued and important?
Regularly and seriously considering each of these questions, can help keep our service excellent and our reputation intact and growing.
Customers Expect Us To Be ‘On’ At All Times
Building a reputation on a foundation of delivering a great customer experience means we’re not allowed to have bad days. Hard as it may sound, our customers expect us to be ‘on’ at all times. Even those who aren’t our customers expect us to be on at all times. That doesn’t mean we won’t have bad days. It just means our customers and potential customers won’t ‘pay’ or suffer for it!
Exceptional customer service that builds a strong reputation is more than putting a smile on your face. It’s more than delivering great products and services. It involves keeping promises, meeting deadlines, responding to telephone calls and emails promptly, and being easy to deal with.
For those businesses who only deal with customers through the Internet, it means making our information easy to find, easy to understand and easy to use. It also means having a website that works as well on a mobile phone or iPad as it does on a desktop.
When it comes right down to it, the reputation of our business is our most important asset!.
We can build an attractive brand in terms of our physical appearance (logo, graphics, marketing materials, physical store/office, website) and yet struggle to build a base of customers because of a poor reputation.
A great reputation is built on the whole customer experience of dealing with your business, not one or two instances. (Although one instance mishandled can have a huge impact on your reputation.)
Customers That Pay And Ones That Don’t
When it comes to brand influence, there should be little difference between customers that pay and ones that don’t.
Delivering great products and services, and consistently stellar customer service, to everyone will positively impact your reputation in the marketplace.
Any recipients of your largesse will likely assume that the way you deal with them is the way you deal with others. That the quality of the products and services you deliver to them, and how you treat them, is how you do business with everyone.
Brand Reputation Is Built Over Time, Not Overnight
The reputation of any business or brand is built over time. It’s built strong on a foundation of kept promises, consistency, reliability, great products and services, and great customer service too.