It wasn’t so long ago that managing your business’ reputation was easy. You opened up shop, provided good service and hoped that people would return.
Thanks to the plethora of review sites on the Internet, you must stay on your toes to make sure your businesses’ reputation stays solid and that people trust you.
How can you build that trust between consumers and your business?
Believe it or not, consumers have already given you a head start.
According to the most-recent Better Business Bureau (BBB) Trust Sentiment Index, a survey conducted by BBB and Nielsen, consumers go into their first engagement with a business trusting they will have a positive experience.
Of course, there are some industries consumers instantly trust more than others.
The Trust Sentiment Index showed consumers more readily trust retail and department stores, banks and hotels, while they were less likely to give car dealers, insurance companies and credit card companies the same benefit of the doubt.
The survey showed consumers most valued a business’ reputation, prices and customer service. And if their experience with you is a positive one, they will return for more of what you offer as well as recommend you to their friends and family.
Your online footprint has never been more important.
The survey showed that more than half of those surveyed often check review sites before making their buying decisions.
However, those same people said they don’t regularly post reviews. Less than a quarter of the respondents said they always post reviews of their experiences with a business.
So, what can you do to make sure your reputation isn’t muddied?
Pay attention. If possible, dedicate a staff member to monitor what people are saying about your business online.
When people are critical of your business, reach out and ask them what you can do to satisfy them.
If a consumer files a complaint with BBB about your business, don’t ignore it. Try to do your best to find a resolution to the complaint.
One of the fastest ways to have your BBB rating plummet is by failing to answer and resolve consumer complaints.
Be available. More than 60 percent of those surveyed said they would prefer to deal with a business in person or through a telephone call.
Consumers don’t want to communicate through emails and online chat rooms. The survey found that to be true of consumers of all ages.
Show that you care. By giving your personal attention to your customer’s problem, you’re showing they are more than a simple participant in a business transaction.
If that customer comes away satisfied, you are more likely to see them again and have them spread positive information about your business to their associates and online.
Angie Barnett is president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland.