By Katie Torres
Your reputation in business is what makes you or breaks you.
One bad word about your company can have a devastating effect on sales, and on the trust you have with customers - especially if you are a new company who is not yet well known.
Most people already know that being a business of integrity is important. But how does a business accomplish that? How can you make it known to others that you are what you say you are?
Even the most reputable of companies can run into problems if a few key areas are not being payed attention to, so it pays to work on these areas before issues arise.
Let's talk about these key areas:
1. Strong communication is a must.
It is extremely important that everyone involved is aware of what is going on. When a message gets sent to one person, but another is not up-to-date on the plan, it sets everyone up for misunderstanding.
When misunderstandings happen, it paints a negative picture about the company. It is so easy for someone to look at what they thought the plan was supposed to be, and wonder why the other person didn't follow through.
Communication fixes this. So invest time into how you communicate.
2. Documentation will save you in a pinch.
When changes are made in plans, or when issues come up, someone needs to make note of this. You need a detailed record of what has happened so that if a problem does arise, you can backtrack to the source of the issue and find a solution.
When information is not properly documented, a business loses credibility in situations where something has gone wrong and they have no way to explain it.
Documentation protects you from misunderstandings, and also from false claims made against you. Don't skip out on it.
3. Do your best, but don't make promises you can't keep.
You should always be doing everything you can to serve your customers. If they have a need, offer them the best solution you have to meet that need. But do not make promises that are so beyond reach that you cannot keep them.
And if for some reason you can't accomplish what you've promised, you need to be honest with the customer and explain to them what has happened. Keeping it in the dark does not work. It comes out eventually, and becomes a much larger issue if you have tried to hide it.
Being open and honest with your customer is the best way to keep trust, and smooth things over when they have gone wrong.
4. Understand that when mistakes are made, it is possible to resolve them.
It may take some time and some extra effort on your part. But do not give up the first time a customer is not happy with your service.
Rather than trying to cover up the mistake or talk your way out of it, just keep doing everything you can to keep open communication and to serve your customer.
Going above and beyond in every situation is how good reputation is built.
You don't need to fear the opinions of others if you are doing everything you can to serve them.
What will you do this week to build a good reputation?