For 20 years the Reputation Institute has been tracking and analysing stakeholder perceptions in 25 industries across 40 countries for more than 7,000 companies, helping businesses understand and manage their reputational value.
Guess the value of Amazon’s reputation? $234 billion.
That’s 65% of Amazon’s market value. Wow. Further research tells us that when a person is making a decision to buy or recommend a product or service, 60% of their decision making is based on the perception of the brand. 40% is based on the perception of the product or service.
Ensuring you hold a positive perception in the minds of your customers and potential customers is critical to business success.
As Creative Thinker at TLC, I’ve spent 20 years helping businesses, organisations and charities manage and improve their reputation through creating positive communication and interaction with their customers.
Reputation boosting tips
Understand your customers
An obvious one I know, but understanding the needs and goals of your customers is the foundation to building long and positive relationships. What are their needs? What are their goals? What are their expectations? Is your customer profile up-to-date? When did you last evaluate who your audience is?
By having a deep understanding of your customers, you will know how best to connect with them.
Help to solve a problem
Trust from your consumer is higher when communication is focused on problem solving. When messages start with a sales pitch, trust drops, sharply. With this in mind, focus your communications on helping solve a genuine customer problem.
Have a clear purpose
Strip away your product or your service and what are you left with? Your reason to exist. Your company’s purpose is your third most valuable asset; in fact, some say it’s your most valuable asset.
Champion your customers
Celebrate your customers achievements, and they are more likely to be a positive ambassador for your company.
And when it all goes wrong?
Bad news travels faster and further than good news. It is more likely to be shared and more likely to be picked up by the press. We are more likely to share a bad experience with a product or service.
Here’s some advice to minimise the risks, and some strategies when it does go wrong.
Plan for it
When you start a business, most of your attention is focused on positive objectives, goals and desired achievements. This is important of course, but little time is spent planning for when it goes wrong. It’s important to look at your customer journey and identify the potential fail points. Interrogate those points and put strategies in place to minimise risks of failure, and plan for when it does go wrong.
When it does go wrong, don’t bury your head in the sand, act quickly with your response. Accept responsibility. The longer you leave it the worse the situation will become.
Who remembers when Elon Musk called an analyst a bonehead? Elon’s comments lead to $2 billion being wiped off value of his company Tesla. Even the smallest mistake can have huge repercussions. OK, we’re not all Elon, but his behaviour reminds us of the importance of acting with integrity and decency at all times. Respect your customers. Be humble. Be understanding. Have empathy.
Don’t forget your customers are human beings, so treat them like human beings. Your customers are the lifeblood of your business, without them you will not have a business.