Your reputation involves the beliefs or opinions held by others. Words, actions, images affect how you’re perceived. This can be positive, where you are highly regarded, as well as trusted. It doesn’t take long to develop and nurture a healthy reputation online. Anything affiliated with you has those positives automatically associated with them. What about the opposite direction? A negative reputation is not attractive, and it conveys a lack of quality, a lack of integrity. It tends to rub off on anything you’re associated with as well. It can take a lot of time and effort to alter this perception. This is true on a variety of scales. For now, consider how you and your business are perceived by the public. They really are one and the same.
People love to talk, give advice, and share their opinions. This is so common place in our digital world with social media. It can certainly make or break a reputation. Reviews are a powerful tool. Many consumers read them to help with their own decision making. Appointments, reservations, or products may never be made in many instances due to negative reviews.
When the conversations of consumers aren’t favorable, the best thing you can do is to become a part of that process, the conversation. It is important to help consumers feel understood, that they matter. Honor their words with respect. Becoming defensive will accomplish nothing. Justifying yourself or the situation won’t do anything to repair the image you have with them either. You certainly aren’t meeting the needs of customers and you are losing some in the process. Offering solutions, refunds, even apologies and words showing appreciation for their honesty can help to mend situations. Indicating your efforts for improvements can promote future connections with you. Little by little it can build trust. This all becomes a part of the conversations that continue to influence both those that they know and those never met.
Having a positive reputation can be maintained and enhanced through social networks. Invite opportunities for feedback. Respond to this, encouraging conversations. When something little surfaces that is less than favorable, address it immediately. Don’t hide any criticism, but rather, address it publicly. It is important to be transparent. Although this may be risky at times, it is riskier to not be. Nurture and promote the high opinion others have of you. Share the integrity both you and your company maintain. It is one and the same.
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