With your business reputation directly linked to your bottom line it is important to do everything you can to build and maintain it.
While your business will inevitably take knocks from unhappy customers, mistakes you make and decisions you wish you could do-over, by following these four ways to safeguard your reputation you can still preserve your standing in the business world.
1. Be personable, not personal
A lot of people get this concept confused, especially in the online world. Keep your personal life out of your business life as much as possible. Know what you will and won’t disclose and discuss with your customers, and be mindful of who is on – and who can see, your personal social media profiles.
2. Assume that nothing is private
As a publicist I can’t tell you how many times I see private information become public. Be careful what you put out in the public sphere and who you trust with information. You can only protect your content so much.
What you write or say can be taken out of context, forwarded on to others or downloaded before you have deleted it, and programs or website changes to rules and settings can leave your information vulnerable.
The best way to protect yourself and your business is to assume that nothing online or on your devices is private. If you aren’t happy for everyone to see it, don’t send or upload it.
3. Don’t run from adversity or negative feedback
You don’t need to be a saint to maintain a good reputation. We all make mistakes; it’s what we do after that makes the difference to our reputation.
Your character is proven in how you handle adversity, conflict and negative feedback. By taking responsibility for mistakes and handling adversity and negative criticism well (whether right or wrong) not only protects your reputation, it also wins you respect, and can result in more people coming to your aid and wanting to work with you simply because of the attitude you have.
4. Monitor your reputation
As your profile builds it is important to monitor what is being said or published about you. Monitor social media, do regular searches and set Google Alerts for your name, key staff and business name. Being proactive will not only allow you to stay on top of any negative feedback, you will also be able to thank those who are referring and promoting you.
If you do find negative feedback (depending on what has been said), don’t rush to delete it or complain, it can be an opportunity to turn the situation completely around. Many businesses gain likes and customers from social media simply by acknowledging, apologising and offering a solution to an unhappy customer.
How do you manage your business reputation?