In business, ones reputation is the key to success or failure. The way that your business is perceived can stay with you for years. It is importantto recognise all the different factors that contribute to your brand being identified as agood, efficient and reliable supplier of your goods or services.
- Be clear as to your niche. Some businesses try to be everything to everybody and end up losing their way. It is important, especially in the early days, to define your role clearly and concisely. There is no need to be a jack of all trades. It is far more efficient and effective to form allegiances with associated companies if it appears that that would work well for all parties. That way you become recognised as a specialist and can tap into the other associated businesses leads too.
- Deal with complaints efficiently. Nothing travels as fast as bad news. Dealing with complaints and dissatisfaction speedily and respectfully can turn a bad situation into a good one. Everyone makes mistakes and people will accept that, but only if a mistake is acknowledged and put right quickly and with a good grace.
- Have an efficient answering service. Customers often get frustrated at having to queue to have their order, query or complaint dealt with. Try to have targets in place where phone lines are answered within an allotted time span.
- Train staff. Staff are often your customer facing part of the business. Ensure that they are clear as to their roles, the company ethics, the importance of being neat, smart and respectful to customers. Whatever the business, money has to change hands for staff to be paid. Sometimes staff can lose sight of that fact and they need to be reminded of it regularly.
- Recognise that whilst price is an important factor, often reliability, speed and quality of service are often equally important, if not more so. Providing what people want, when they want and need it is the most important aspect of building a successful, long lasting business reputation. Customer satisfaction is the key to longevity.
- Be inviting. Having the best product in the world in ugly packaging might work well as an occasional gimmick. But having an inviting looking product with clear user instructions is an important way to build up product loyalty.
- Customer feedback is a useful way to get opinions and different users viewpoints on your companys' performance. A short relevant survey can get specific information about your company that can be used to enhance any areas that need improvement.
- Taking customers email addresses is an efficient way to build a useful database that can keep in touch with customers, mail shot them about specific promotions and provide them with valuable information about developments in their business niche. By providing generous informative mail shots your customers may well keep them to hand and look out for them arriving in their in-box.
Susan Leigh is a Counsellor and Hypnotherapist who works with
- stressed individuals to promote confidence and self belief,
- couples in crisis to help improve communications and understanding
- with business clients to help support the health and motivation levels of individuals and teams
For more information see http://www.lifestyletherapy.net