A reputation is not something that you can touch and measure. It is quite intangible, in other words. At the same time, however, it is a very important asset, if not your most important one. If your reputation is solid and good, you will see an increase in new customers and existing customers will become far more loyal. People now look for businesses that have excellent reputations and this is true not just for your customers, but also prospective partners, buyers, suppliers and other stakeholders. Clearly, therefore, you have to properly monitor and manage your online reputation, making sure that it is a positive one.
How to Build a Strong Online Reputation
- You must build strong relationships. This is absolutely crucial to your reputation. A good relationship is built when they are mutually beneficial. This means there has to be something in it for you (the trust of your customer) and there has to be something in it for your customer. You need each other. This means that you should have people in place who are excellent communicators and great marketers, in order to build these relationships.
- You must believe in your own positive identity. Everybody within your business has to understand and stand behind your vision and mission. The identity should be ingrained in each employee, regardless of their rank or position. If this identity is known and understood, then people also know how to respond to difficult situations, such as negative reviews.
- Communication and behavior have to be aligned. You cannot say one thing and then do something completely different. That is so damaging to your reputation that you will struggle to recover from it. A good reputation management company will look at incidents where you may have taken a misstep on this, so that you can learn from your mistakes and improve in future.
You must understand just how important your reputation is in terms of running a proper business. There have been plenty of companies who didn’t take this seriously enough, and this often cost them their business. People are ruthless nowadays and if they spot as many as one unanswered negative review, they will decide to take their custom elsewhere. Because everything is online nowadays, it is very easy for people to simply find a different company to offer what they need.
Everybody makes mistakes, and making a mistake is not what will tarnish your reputation. Not responding to these mistakes is the issue. For instance, several years ago, two Johnson & Johnson products had to be recalled because their products were tampered with. They were honest, open and transparent about this, which meant they were able to keep their positive reputation. Had they handled that different, such as by ignoring it or not responding to people with questions, they may have ended up going out of business altogether. This is just one example of a situation where reputation was managed properly.