To call a small business’s reputation important would be a massive understatement. Given the sheer volume of options from which modern consumers can choose, there’s little wonder as to why many of us tend to skip over businesses with less-than-stellar reputations.
So, if you’ve given little thought to how your business is perceived by current and prospective patrons, you’d do well to correct this mistake posthaste. Small business owners looking for effective ways to bolster their professional reputations would do well to heed the following pointers.
Provide Outstanding Customer Service
While going above and beyond with regard to customer service may seem like a no-brainer, a fair number of small businesses seemingly fail to get the memo. The better you treat your customers, the more likely they are to provide you with repeat patronage.
So, if you or any of your employees could use a refresher in good customer service, now would be the time to get the ball rolling. For starters, make a point of being as courteous and personable as possible in all of your customer interactions.
Even if a customer comes to you with a complaint or is displeased with a certain aspect of your business, the right attitude can help ensure that they give you a second chance. In addition to exuding politeness, take care to own up to any mistakes made on the part of your business and do everything in your power to make things right.
As you’ll find, consumers can be surprisingly forgiving if they see that genuine efforts at restitution are being made. Good customer service also entails prompt and courteous communication.
For example, any communiques you receive from customers – be they texts, emails or phone calls – should be answered in no more than one business day, especially if they come through during your normal hours of operation.
The longer a customer has to wait for an answer, the less valued they’re liable to feel – and the less valued they feel, the less likely they are to give you their business in the future.
Encourage Customers To Leave Feedback
As any consumer knows, customer feedback can be a great way to determine whether or not a business is worthy of one’s patronage. Ergo, it stands to reason that the more positive feedback your business is able to generate, the more interest prospective patrons are liable to show.
With this in mind, you should encourage customers to leave feedback for your business online. For example, a single positive review from someone with a large social media following can prove tremendously beneficial to your financial bottom line.
However, it’s important to avoid coming off as too needy, desperate or obnoxious when encouraging feedback. The more of a chore this task appears to be, the less likely patrons are to do it.
Furthermore, if you’re too aggressive in encouraging feedback, you may wind up drawing the ire of customers and ensuring that even patrons who are satisfied with your business keep their distance.
Be Mindful Of Your Tone On Social Media
Social media has proven to be an invaluable tool for countless small businesses. In addition to providing you with a convenient way to keep your audience informed, social platforms essentially give current and prospective patrons a direct line to you.
So, when addressing comments, concerns and queries via social media, it’s imperative that you remain mindful of your tone. Without even meaning to, you may inadvertently sour consumers on your business and promptly lose any interest you succeeded in generating.
So, when it comes to managing your online reputation, take care to place extra importance on social media. Being warm and courteous in your various interactions will help foster customer loyalty and give prospective patrons a taste of what they’re in for should they decide to give you their business.
If you lack the experience or personal bandwidth to dedicate yourself to social media matters, it may be in your interest to hire a dedicated social media manager.
A positive reputation can do wonders for any small business. Heightened awareness, increased patronage and consistent consumer interest are among the most noteworthy benefits of bolstering your small business’s reputation.
Additionally, improving your business’s reputation may not be as difficult as you think – particularly if you have the previously discussed tips at your disposal. So, if a favorable reputation is what you’re after, don’t hesitate to put the advice outlined above to practical use.