How to protect your brand reputation

A business’ brand is critical to its success, not least because a strong brand can establish and build customer trust and loyalty. It’s even more important for growing businesses that have a smaller customer base to protect their brand – just one tarnished customer relationship can have a huge impact on the whole business.

In this digital age, building a reputable company is even more challenging given the ease and speed with which people can communicate comments on a business.

So, it’s essential to engage in customer dialogue to collect feedback. By proactively soliciting opinion and strategically responding, your company can enhance its brand and strengthen customer loyalty. Here’s what you need to do:

1. Have a direct line of communication

This enables customers to easily feed back their questions and comments. A simple email and mail address displayed prominently on your website or other marketing material is sufficient in the first instance. 

2. To take customer feedback to the next level

Make it easy for customers to communicate their thoughts by using one of the many reputation-management tools available (such as co.mments and Who’s Talkin), which can help you track your brand and engage in conversations with customers. Not all tools are online, either, so even if your business does not have a website, customer feedback tools can be employed on receipts, invoices, emails, and at point of purchase.

3. Customers appreciate their opinions being taken into account, so actively seek their feedback. Conduct a survey on existing customers to gauge their opinion of your business or send out an email asking for their feedback rather than waiting for it.

4. When customers give you positive feedback don’t just sit on it

All too often businesses are quick to react to negative feedback by changing parts of their business, but forget to react to positive feedback by promoting it on their website and other marketing materials.

5. Customers are increasingly using social media 

They increasingly use this way to talk about their opinions towards a company or service. There is nothing a business can do to stop this, so the best thing to do is monitor social networking sites and engage with your customers.

Customer feedback can be used in a variety of ways, from substantiating services provided to developing products. Online tools are an easy way of getting connected to your customers and so businesses should make use of their websites.

If your business doesn’t have a website, seriously consider getting one. In the meantime, at least register a company domain name – this will help you protect your brand as competitors will not be able to register the name.

Thomas Vollrath is CEO of Webfusion.

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