3 tips manage your reputation and protect your brand

Your brand is really important to you.  You’ve spent a lot of time and effort building a great company and have earned a great reputation.  Now that you’ve got something to lose, what do you do to guard your investment? The following are three tips can help you manage your reputation and protect your brand.

 

1. Be proactive

At the beginning of your interaction with your customer,set an expectation that you’ll be looking for a referral at the end.  This lets the client know that you’re serious about providing exceptional customer service and gives the customer a head start on evaluating your business.

When you intend to ask for a referral (thanks John Jantsch), it changes the way you see your customer experience.  You’ll think differently about the way you treat your customer as they move through your sales funnel.   This empathy will help you anticipate trouble areas and find unique solutions to both create, and keep customers.

 

2. Listen to the market

In the groundbreaking book The Cluetrain Manifesto, the authors astutely point out that the markets are conversations.  In our digitally connected world, the impact of this statement is perhaps more powerful today than when it was first written in 1999.

One way to listen to the market is to customize your own listening dashboard.  Try tools like Google Alerts, Google Trends, Hootsuite or Netvibes.  In this case, you’ll want to listen for references to your company, but also to the broader conversation about your industry and uses for your products.

Another way  to listen to the market is by studying your customer’s behaviour on your website.  Use Google Analytics, Clicky or Jetpack for WordPress to gain insights into the most viewed pages, most shared content and the holes in your conversion funnel.

 

3. Don’t hide your comment box

I’ve been in thousands of businesses over the years and most of them hide their comment box.  This is a bad idea if you want to improve your brand position in the customer’s mind.  Instead, make a habit of asking for continuous feedback from customers.

However, don’t ask customers if they are satisfied.  It turns out that satisfaction is a useless metric unless it’s quantified.  Authors of a study published by the Harvard Business school found that merely “satisfied” customers are likely to defect.  Unless you get more information, it turns out that measuring satisfaction isn’t satisfactory.

Instead of asking “are you satisfied”, set your own bar higher.  Ask better questions. You could customers informal questions like “were you blown away by our service?” Or, you could use a more formal approach like   Bain & Co’s Net Promoter Score or Joseph Pine’s customer sacrifice. 

The Net Promoter Score asks one simple question.  How likely is it that you would recommend us to a friend or colleague?  The customer is then asked to rate their willingness to recommend on an 11 point scale from zero (least likely) to ten (most likely).  To calculate your net promoter score subtract the % of detractors (zeros to sixes) from the % of promoters (nines and tens).  I can tell you I scored a 4 on a recent talk which made me re-evaluate how I can improve my presentation delivery.

 

Net Promoter Score

 

Customer sacrifice is another interesting model of improving client satisfaction.   This survey technique starts by interviewing the customer at the beginning of their journey.  Ask them “what are you looking for exactly?”.  When a customer comes back to complete the purchase, the follow-up question is “what did you settle for?”.  By comparing the responses to these two questions, you’ll be able to uncover and solve unmet needs and create a favorable customer experience.

 

Uncover unmet needs to improve customer experience

 

By using these three ideas, you’ll be one step closer to effectively protecting your brand and managing your reputation.

 

Have you tried any of these tips?  What are your thoughts about measuring client satisfaction?

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