That’s a big question – and one that it’s probably difficult, if not impossible to put a number on. Most of us work hard, try to keep our customers happy, help people where we can and hope that people like what we do and say good things about us to other people.
Even if you do all these good things it doesn’t take much to chip your shiny reputation. If you have an ‘OK’ reputation the occasional negative comment can be written off as ‘everyone makes mistakes’ or ‘it’s just one of those things’. If you have a brilliant reputation the odd blip is usually seen as ‘circumstances beyond your control’, a miserable git (comment on the person making the negative comment) or ‘not at all like … (insert your or your company name here). You’ve got to have a really fantastic reputation to get away with it – or that negative comment can raise doubts even in your most supportive customer’s mind. Most of us are very susceptible and constantly worried that there could be a better solution and we’re missing out.
How do you give your reputation a glossy shine that’s really tough to crack?
There are a few things you can do – here’s my list of tips:
- Never forget to ask people who are really happy with your service or products for a testimonial and post them on your social media, your website and marketing material. Ensure you’re connected to your clients on LinkedIn and ask them to post recommendations either on your profile or on your company page (or both). Read this to get really great testimonials.
- After you’ve provided a service or delivered a product and the customer has had a little while to see how it works, call them and ask them how things are going? So few people do follow ups that this will really make you stand out.
- Share your knowledge in blogs, tips as social media posts, presentations at networking meetings, help sheets on your website, articles on LinkedIn and guest blogs on other people’s sites. The more information you give away the more evidence of your expertise is influencing and impressing people who have – so far – not become customers.
- Ask your clients what you can do better; the more you talk to them, the stronger your relationship will get and the more likely they will be to talk about you to others.
- Get published! Be available to your industry press and other appropriate business press as a source. You’ll need to do some work to arrive at this point, but there are dozens of journalists on LinkedIn and you should already have a good idea what your customers and client base read. Get in touch with the editors and start a conversation – at worst they’ll say ‘we don’t take uncommissioned articles’ at best you could end up with a regular column; it’s not as unlikely as you might think.
- Always include value in your email campaigns. This could be a ‘today’s tip’ or a link to an interesting blog or a bit of advice; people don’t unsubscribe from emails that keep delivering great value (unless they really aren’t your target market – and then it doesn’t matter).
- Be generous and promote others. Share your clients posts on social media – and those of your suppliers and other networking connections. They’ll take more notice of what you post when you keep making these connections.
These are just a few things you can do – there are more reputation enhancing tips in this free download.