From high school to the big city, rumors spread fast. No matter your audience, who you are and what do you matters – or at least, what people think you do is what matters. Are you listening to what people say about you and using it to improve your services or better define your goals?
If you are, then you are already one step ahead of those who might put you in a tail spin (see the crisis communications infographic below). Highly valuable and extremely vulnerable, reputation is a corporate asset that may prove to be the most difficult to protect. You can lock your doors to prevent a thief from stealing office equipment or paint over a graffiti artist’s work on your wall. What do you do when your reputation starts to go by the wayside and how do you stay informed about what your reputation is in the community?
In the real world
Knowing what people think about you is more difficult, mostly because it is rare when people will tell you face-to-face what they think. Consider providing an outlet for supporters to voice their opinion.
Offer an incentive for writing a testimonial that you can you can post at your location or share in a newsletter. It’s cheesy, but the ‘comments’ box would provide a place for those who are motivated (usually the unhappy) to leave a remark.
Encourage feedback when you are working one-on-one with a client, supporter or customer. Ask what they think and how you can improve your service. It is human nature to share opinions but most individuals will not start until prompted.
In the digital world
Thanks to the anonymity of the internet, online reviewers can wreak havoc on your reputation. More then 25% the world’s population is online and seeking information about the organizations they frequent and support digitally. Nearly 92% of shoppers search for online reviews before making a buying decision and with the constantly connected millennial generation entering into their 30’s, online reputation management will only continue to be more important in the next 10 years.
Stay abreast of what is being said about you online. Set up local searches on twitter for your name, visit your yelp and google maps pages and establish Google alerts that email when you are mentioned on the internet.
Those who write a lot of reviews are often the people who have only negative things to say. Good reviews are typically few and far between and that is ok. Take virtual criticism with a grain of salt and use the feedback to receive to improve the quality of your service to produce a higher percentage of positive reviews.
Avoid herding cats
Instead of trying to change the opinions of those who may not fully appreciate what you provide, work to encourage those who support you to be more vocal. Follow these easy steps for managing and building your reputation:
1. Make a statement: Tell people who you are and what you stand for. This could be your 30 second elevator pitch or a banner on your wall with your mission statement.
2. Listen: Pay attention to what people are saying, both on and offline. Respond when appropriate by checking into the issue and taking steps to resolve it.
3. Be transparent: Find an outlet for sharing your news, both successes and challenges. Honesty builds trust.
If in doubt of your reputation, ask. An outside perspective, like those provided by the A-Train can help you evaluate and improve. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, it’s impossible to stay on top of the day-to-day tasks needed to do your job, listen to what people are saying and stay up to date on the latest trends in marketing. The team at A-Train has experience working with countless organizations and businesses that experience the same things you do everyday and can take the reputation management monkey off your back.