Your reputation is critical if you want to be a five star business.  But it can’t be created overnight, it takes time and effort – not to mention planning, protecting and promoting.

What strategies have you got in place for growing the reputation you want?

It all starts with your values and it’s worth spending some time examining and clarifying what is important to you and your business.  As a business owner, your values will have an enormous impact on those of the business you own.  However, if there are other people in your business it’s important to get the input of any business partners or managers you work alongside and then to ensure that those values are communicated clearly to your team.

This sounds easy, but it’s something that many companies fail to do well – or at all.

Your reputation strategy will include:

Top level

  • Your top three values and a description of what that means to your business.
  • A clear vision of your ideal clients and what they want.
  • The actions that will ensure that your values are supported and delivered.
  • The behaviours that you expect from your team to underpin these values.
  • The impact on your customers/clients as a result of everyone living these values.

Second level

The next level is the detail of how you will ensure that your values and, consequently, your reputation is rock solid.  This will include:

  • Who is responsible for which aspects of your reputation management.
  • Review of the role profiles of each person in your organisation to ensure that the outcomes you expect of them are consistent with delivering the values.
  • Discussion with each team member to ensure that they are aligned correctly.
  • Possibly, training to reskill or upskill team members, or to reinforce the systems and processes that will ensure the customer gets a 5 star service.
  • Development of systems and processes that ensure a consistent service in every aspect of customer engagement.
  • Levels of decision making to make it easy for customer facing staff to give customers a quick response (and avoid ‘I don’t have the ability to give you an answer’ situations).

It’s really important that you and your senior team live and breathe your values to ensure your reputation develops a glossy polish!

Third level

It’s important to look at protection and promotion of your reputation.

Who will keep a watch on what people are saying about you?  Regular checks on the search engine under your company’s name – and any short versions or alternatives is a good first step.  Maybe set up Google Alerts so you get proactive information when you’re mentioned.  Google reviews, Trustpilot, LinkedIn recommendations and any other review platforms need to be tracked too.

Who will be responsible for your social media?  Someone needs to develop your social media profiles, post strategy and keep track of engagement to ensure comments are promptly replied to.  Creating content – video, images and text – all need to be done to reflect your values, brand and ethos.

Who will be responsible for content generation – blogs, newsletters, articles for publication, email campaigns, etc.?

Who will look after your website, ensuring the content is up-to-date, links are working, fresh information is posted regularly, etc.?

This is just the tip of the iceberg – and every company will have activities that are relevant to their particular brand, industry, values and team.  Hoping it will happen if everyone is nice to customers isn’t a strategy that will work long-term, so it’s worth investing the time and effort in developing a robust reputation strategy and operating plan.