Monday, April 23, 2018

The importance of reputation in the construction industry

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.

Customer reviews

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:

  • Don’t make the mistake of promising something which you can’t deliver. Don’t say a house will be built by such and such a date if that is going to stretch you to the limits. You don’t have any contingency room, and will almost inevitably fall behind. Then you will get a reputation for not being able to deliver on time. Far better to allow a little more time, then if you finish early, you create the impression that you can deliver ahead of schedule. If something does crop up that delays the job, you should at least finish on time, and that will be just as valuable to building a good reputation.
  • Don’t use cheap materials in an effort to keep your quote down. It’s tempting to try and undercut your competitors when quoting for a job by basing your pricing on the cheapest materials, but this is an approach that can cost you in the long run. If you don’t use materials that are of good quality, you will get the blame when anything goes wrong. Say you have used the cheapest fittings for a plumbing system to keep your costs down. When the client rings you one night in a state because there’s water leaking from the bathroom, you are then faced with fixing a problem that could have been avoided, plus the cost of new parts and the potential damage to your reputation. If you use a quality supplier like Custom Fittings Ltd, you can avoid all the unnecessary expense and loss of time, not to mention damaged reputation.
  • Don’t cut corners to save money. Being economical is a good thing – there’s no point spending what isn’t required to complete a job well. However, trying to use fewer tradespeople to save money will only result in either substandard workmanship as the remaining workers try and rush to finish the job or delayed completion date. Make sure you adhere to local and federal laws from start to finish, because flouting them in an attempt to finish more quickly will only be to the detriment of your reputation. You don’t want to be known as the company that bulldozes its way across a meadow without taking care of the wildlife first, for example.

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.

 

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