One of the most valuable aspects of success is reputation. Regardless of whether preconceived notions or ideas are based on fact, what people think about your company will determine sales, growth and profitability. If your company is known for erratic customer service or pushy sales representatives, it will eventually affect your bottom line.
Small businesses should be especially concerned with customer perception. Consider the many versions of the following phrases you have heard or have said yourself:
- I haven’t shopped at that department store in six months because the store is always disorganized and there are never any employees available to help me.
- I won’t go to that gas station anymore because they tried to overcharge my neighbor a few years ago.
- Don’t eat at that restaurant any more. Two months ago, my co-worker’s son got sick after eating there.
- I heard that the owner of that coffee shop said he only wanted to hire waitresses who were blonde and pretty.
No matter how ridiculous the claim may be, once it becomes a part of the public perception, there is little that can be done to reverse it until it eventually passes with time. One bad experience can ripple through a potential customer base when just one unhappy individual shares his or her feelings with friends, families or neighbors. The truth about your company is irrelevant if it is not in line with what the majority believes to be true.
Can you change a reputation? Is it possible to change the perception of your company and generate more sales? Fortunately, there are ways to reverse damage or build a solid reputation from the very beginning.
- Be kind and respectful. You do not have to give into every customer demand or compromise principles in order to show respect. A little kindness can go a long way when handling uncomfortable situations.
- Above all else, be honest. It is vital that businesses be open and honest with customers. Be truthful about deadlines, return policies or the ability to provide a service in a timely manner.
- Use social media. Do not let others speak for your business. Instead, let customers and clients know what you offer by having a strong presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms.
- Consider a new marketing plan. One of the fastest and most effective ways to communicate with potential clients is through a carefully planned and executed marketing plan. When done correctly, marketing is one of the most powerful ways to change client perception, showcase services and attract new customers.
Fighting public perception can be a tricky, complex process, but it is not an impossible task. Instead of navigating it alone, get support from a team that is experienced in all of the above suggestions and more. If you would like to learn how you can harness the power of public perception to increase sales, we can help.