Reputation management is the new outsourced service for businesses. There is a new cottage industry of vendors that have risen up to say that they will handle your reputation. Maybe they have called you to say that you do not have to worry, they will watch what others say, they will reach out to your customers, they will answer for you and you don’t have to worry about any of this anymore.
Does something seem odd about that?
Reputation is a funny thing. For most of us it is built up over time through our own individual efforts and actions. A good reputation is the union of your words and actions matching. A bad reputation happens when they don’t. I am sure many of you have cut out people from your lives who no longer have a good reputation, those you can no longer trust.
Your customers are doing the same thing. Looking for people they can trust.
I personally have found that the times I was most disappointed in myself was when I allowed my reputation to be negatively impacted by others and I did nothing about it or I subjugated my reputation to fit in.
Many of you reading this are doing the same right now. You are allowing your staff to impact your reputation in ways you are not aware of or you are looking to find a quick solution to solve or manage your reputation so you can check it off your list.
Be honest for a moment with yourself and ask are you disconnecting your vision of how you want your business to be received from the reality of how it is actually being received by your customers?
In the past, I have spoken about reputation management and a process you have to embrace, I have spoken about marketing your reputation to let people know who you are. My opinion is changing. I believe in the coming years it is not going to be the number of reviews, or a written testimonial that will gain you customers. It is going to be everything you say and then do and how that makes your customers feel that is going to win in the marketplace because reputation is becoming more important in the consumer’s decision process.
So you cannot approach this any longer like it is reputation in a box.
How to Connect Your Reputation to Everything You Do
Take a moment to remember why you got in the business and why you stay. It can’t just be the money. You love what you do. You still get excited talking about it. You want to get better at what you do. If you didn’t, you sure as hell would not be here reading my article.
My challenge is for you to take charge. Steven Covey says begin with the end in mind; so, think about what your customers should be saying and what behavior has to happen to deliver that result.
Once you have the vision of what experience you want your customers to receive, you will need to work through each process you have to make sure the smallest things align. Everything you do influences a customer and either enhances or diminishes your reputation in their minds as someone they want to interact with.
Who drives the vision? Who manages reputation? Business Leaders you do. From marketing promises to delivering excellence to auditing the process to being open to really asking your customers how you are doing– and being willing to hear what they have to say and make changes where needed.
Decide what is your end game is: long term growth or short term gain. Both have different behaviors and both impact your customers differently.
I have encountered many business leaders that work very hard to deliver excellence and have good reputations as a result. There are still many that don’t, but I would think they are not here reading this article. They are very content in their ways and solely focusing on short-term gains. Those days, my friends, are ending. You will see it in the next few years how their businesses will diminish. Customers will move on, customers will voice their dissatisfaction because a new type of business is giving them the service options they did not think existed.
Would you rather reinforce the stereotype or shatter the glass and have customers walk out saying that you changed their minds?
Remember that everything you do, no matter how small you think it is, will impact your reputation. If you do not own it and manage it, then someone else will– but it may not be what you wanted.
If you have any questions or if I can be of service please connect with me on Twitter @glennpasch or reach out to me at PCG.