Your company’s reputation is one of its most valuable assets. When customers have trust and confidence in your business, they’re more likely to spend their hard-earned rupees on your products or services, even when competitors offer lower prices. With a proactive approach, you can build a company reputation that increases sales, encourages repeat business, and builds customer loyalty.
1. Increase Data Security
India is quickly going digital. Cash transactions are down, smartphone user numbers are up, and more of the country is getting online. In fact, the number of Indian internet users increased by 11.34% between 2016 and 2017, and it continues to grow. As consumers become more digital-savvy, a big part of your company’s reputation hinges on data and cyber security. To help customers feel safe handing over their personal data or financial details, you can take these steps to reinforce your security setup:
- Use strong passwords
- Install antivirus software and firewalls
- Encrypt sensitive data
- Invest in a secure online shopping cart system
- Limit employee access to customer data
Don’t be afraid to communicate your data security strategy to customers, both online and in person. When buyers know that you’re actively monitoring cyber security, it builds confidence.
2. Invest in Customer Satisfaction
Happy customers can strengthen your reputation. Each positive interaction builds confidence, satisfaction, and trust, which means more repeat business and word-of-mouth marketing. Over time, this foundation of satisfaction can create a strong reputation. If a customer has had five great experiences with your company, they’re less likely to be swayed by a single negative review or news story.
How you increase customer satisfaction depends on your business. To start, make sure your products and services are the best they can be. Service is also a great opportunity for improvement. Are your employees knowledgeable? Do they make customers feel welcome and appreciated? Can they handle service calls? If you need help, customer service training can go a long way. Other things that affect the customer experience are an intuitive online ordering system, easy returns, efficient shipping, and transparent communication.
3. Choose and Cultivate Your Employees Wisely
Your employees play a big role in your reputation and affect nearly every part of a customer’s interaction with your brand, from product quality to the tone of a service call. When your employees are enthusiastic, dedicated, and smart, they create a great experience for every client or vendor.
Hiring is one part of the equation. As an employer, you can protect your reputation by finding people that fit into the corporate culture you want to create. Depending on your business, your ideal employees might be empathetic, detail-oriented or insatiable problem-solvers. Once you have a great team, it’s up to you to keep them happy. When your staff feels valued, empowered, and trusted, it’s easier for them to maintain your company’s good image.
4. Monitor the Public Conversation
Thanks to the internet, conversations about your brand can happen at any time. Customers are online all the time, posting reviews or mentioning brands on social media. This constant connectivity means that you need to monitor what people are saying about your company, especially when it’s happening away from your website and social media profiles.
If you’re on a budget, simple searches are a free way to see what’s happening. Set up a Google alert for your company name and search social media frequently. For a fee, tools like Trackur and Brand’s Eye monitor public sentiments for you. By monitoring the conversation around your brand, you can spot problems early and take action before they spiral out of control. In a time when a single internet post can go viral in a matter of hours, this proactive approach can be a lifesaver for your reputation.
5. Crisis Management Plan
A crisis is one of the biggest tests for your brand’s reputation. In part, whether you succeed or fail depends on how you handle the crisis. A reactionary approach is almost never useful. In the midst of chaos, it’s all too easy to make rash decisions. That’s where a crisis management plan can help. This plan allows you to take quick, effective action that solves the problem and reduces further damage to your reputation.
A crisis management plan usually identifies the top risks you face and forecasts the possible effects on the company. For each risk, you can lay out a set of steps to handle your most important priorities. That way, you can mitigate damage and avoid wasting time on non-critical steps. If a hacker gets into your ordering system, for example, your plan might cover:
- Fixing the data breach
- Communicating the breach to affected customers
- Explaining the steps customers should take
- Investing in a security upgrade to prevent further breaches
- Communicating your solution through marketing and public relations
Maintaining and protecting your company’s reputation is an ongoing process. With small, well-planned steps that you execute over time, you can increase customer confidence, shield your business from the occasional bump in the road and help ensure long-term success.