The painstaking effort you have endured in order to build your business reputation and image is priceless. The long, sleepless nights of figuring out your first-year tax returns. The endless Google searches and online seminars to ensure that the products you choose will steer the people through your doors and not past them. Conducting the long monotony of inventory, shelf resets, and payroll in order to squeeze every last penny to improve the bottom line.
Is it really worth it? Where is the value in doing all of this when you are one hostile Facebook post away from the tables turning? Can you stay ahead of your competitors when a handful of negative reviews flow into social media or shopping review websites? Your business plan may be an airtight model worthy of mention by Harvard Business School, but if you do not understand the impact of the image of you held by the consumer, you are missing the boat on a serious aspect of long-term success.
Understanding the Dangers of Negative Reviews
You may be operating under the assumption that if sales are good, so is your reputation. But did you know that it can take weeks, even months, for negative reviews or ratings to be visibly seen in your business? If there are reviews or social media platforms that you do not view at least occasionally, you may find yourself unaware of some potential fallout about an incident long forgotten about by you or your staff. Thankfully, there are ways to identify and correct issues before they affect the reputation of your business.
Analyze the State of Your Current Business Reputation
Gaining an accurate understanding of where your business reputation stands can be achieved in a few steps. This provides a baseline from which improvements to the customer experience can be developed. It also gives you the opportunity to make overtures to correct the negative experiences of the past. Both scenarios provide valuable insights from which you can develop an action plan.
There are a number of valuable resources that can be tapped in order to discover what current and previous customers have to say about you. Some of these options include:
- Better Business Bureau
- Local Chamber of Commerce
- Television consumer advocates
- Social media outlets, including video platforms like YouTube and TikTok.
- Consumer and shopping review sites, such as Google Maps, Yelp, Trip Advisor, or Angie’s List.
Combining the data from these various avenues of consumer interaction should present a clearer picture of what customers have said about their experience with you, both positive and negative. A lack of reviews in either direction will be helpful as well, as this shows that your experience, while satisfactory, is lackluster or average, resulting in many one-and-done consumer interactions. In any of these cases, the information gained can be used to your advantage in two important ways.
Developing a Compass for Changing Direction as Needed
The perils that publicized negative experiences about interactions with your business will initially provoke higher levels of anxiety. But fear not, as negative comments about businesses, products, sports team, et all, are a part of doing business. While business reputation has long been held in high regard by owners and customers alike, adverse opinions about an experience inside of your space should only be considered a glancing blow.
Changing your attitude about negative comments or reviews made about your business is an important element in making lasting changes to demonstrate that you take all opinions seriously. Instead of dread, anger, or frustration, see these moments as doors of opportunities, presenting themselves in ways that provide clarity into where and how you need to change course. This can lend value to your customer retention program, as you will project a welcoming, accepting approach towards any type of feedback received.
The development of changes based on feedback should be structured in a way that keeps all parties in the loop. Employees can take the lessons of the review to heart, and make changes on their own or via training recommendations from you or your supervisors. An effective customer outreach program can be implemented to give a complaining consumer the ability to watch the changes proceed. You can even actively seek out their opinion to ensure that things are being addressed correctly.
This does not mean, however, that the customer is always right. In many cases, the customer may be belligerent to get attention or to smear your reputation in favor of a competitor. It makes sense to formulate an effective response to any negative feedback, one that takes the high road if called for but also allows you to stand your ground in the event it is clear that the negativity was all in the perception of the customer. Drawing that line, while challenging at first, can be made clearer by deepening your relationship with the customer.
Generating Excitement Around Your Products and Services
We have been focused on how to address negative responses to your business reputation, so let’s look at this with more of a positive spin. Building a successful business, and keeping the lights on for as long as you have to this point, would only be possible if you were making more customers happy than not. While this is just part of the puzzle in growing a business, it is a key pillar to build to generate long-term success.
Using your unique products, services, and customer experience to generate excitement about your business can do more than just drive the bottom line. It can make your reputation that much less susceptible to a handful of poor reviews or opinions about your business while pulling your regular customers into your brand even tighter than before. This provides free advertising through word of mouth, which in today’s social media-focused society can be a huge boon to businesses.
Having a highly functional POS solution in place can make this an even more effective strategy, thanks to the data and reporting that such a system provides. You can use advanced sales forecasting to determine your next big seller by watching purchasing trends in real-time. And, you can make granular adjustments to orders to ensure that the new, trending item is always in stock and in the colors and sizes most desired.
Retaining An Outside Viewpoint on Your Business Reputation and Image
Building a positive business reputation and image may leave you feeling as if you should be jumping through hoops to please every customer that enters. The reality, however, will prove to be slightly different. Addressing the concerns and complaints through a well thought out and planned approach is a must, but it is important to note that in some cases, the customer may be wrong. Defining where this line in the sand should be drawn is an important, hard to hit moving target.
Retaining an expert in POS and customer retention strategies is an important aspect of long-term success. Your POS system requirements must include a wide range of customizable features and flexible hardware options that integrate within all aspects of your operations. At talech, we dig you’re your business to understand exactly what your loyalty program needs to accomplish for your business. Reach out to us today to sign up for a demo and to learn more about how talech can be your valued POS partner.