In life and in business, your reputation counts for a great deal. No matter how flashy your advertising is or how great your offers are; if the grapevine says your company does shoddy work or you can’t be trusted, that will override all other concerns. If, on the other hand, you are more expensive than your competitors but are renowned for outstanding service and attention to detail, your reputation will do more to boost your sales than any marketing campaign. Harness the power of public opinion and use your good reputation to market your business for you.
Why your reputation has such an influence
If you are a consumer looking to engage the services of a professional, or just selecting groceries at the store, there is a range of factors that will influence your decision. Price is one that takes priority for most people, whether it’s because they need to save the pennies or whether it’s because they want the reassurance of quality that a high price promises. Branding matters, because familiar names feel like safer options, and advertising has an influence. It must do, or it wouldn’t be a multi-million-dollar industry. However, one of the deciding factors when people make a decision is what they know about your business – your reputation. If they have heard positive reports about your business, they are far more likely to go to you rather than one of your rivals about whom they either know nothing or have heard negative reports. If they know you are likely to do a good job and not cause them any hassle, that is worth more than saving a few bucks and having to deal with sub-standard service.
Before the Internet spread its wings, reputation was built up through word of mouth, published reviews and reports, and the history of a business in its community. Now the power of customer reviews drives some of the biggest business names in the world. eBay and Amazon use customer review systems to inform potential buyers about the quality and reliability of businesses and individuals using their platforms. This is one of the key factors that has made these companies so successful. Using information and opinion from previous purchasers to inform potential purchasers whether it’s worth buying from this business or not. The feedback system on eBay has a life all its own. The rating a seller has tells you so much about their reputation at a glance; 100% positive feedback and you can feel confident that their products and service are excellent, but the lower the percentage, the more reluctant a buyer will feel. The use of reviews has proved so popular and successful that businesses from all walks of life are utilizing the power of feedback, and entire companies like Trip Advisor and TrustPilot have grown up based on this one concept. If you hadn’t already realized how important and influential customer feedback is, these examples should give you ample evidence that it’s something that can make or break your reputation.
Building a good reputation
Now you understand the importance of reputation, how do you go about making sure yours is as good as possible? First and foremost, you need to have integrity. That means demonstrating that you are honest and have the highest standards, both morally and practically. Backing up your promises by always delivering the quality of goods and services and having knowledgeable, professional staff are the bedrock of establishing a good reputation. There are a few essential components to cementing your reputation:
A good reputation will do wonders for your business, but don’t forget that a bad one is just as influential. Working on building a sound and positive reputation for your business and avoiding the harmful effects of a negative one is one of the best ways of helping your company thrive.