by Chris Miksen, Demand Media
A business’s reputation often dictates its sales. A bad reputation leads to a lack of willingness on the part of the consumer to purchase a product or service from the business. You don’t need to trash your business and start a new one to rebuild your reputation; confronting the problem that has led to your company’s poor reputation will result in people returning to your business. As long as you’re prepared to make changes to the way your business operates, a positive reputation will follow.
Determine the cause of your business’s poor reputation. Before you can fix a problem, you need to know the cause of the problem. Ordering better quality products, for example, won’t help improve your business’s reputation if the cause of the problem is poor customer service.
Announce any changes that you’ve made. The best way to convince people that your business does not reflect your reputation is to clearly spell out any positive changes that you’ve made. The easiest way to do so is by advertising. Get the word out that your business has changed for the better by mentioning what you’ve done to improve.
Focus on the customer. The way your customers perceive your business changes depends on the level of customer service you provide. Overcoming a bad reputation requires you to give your full attention to the customer. Don’t stop your customer service efforts once the customer has decided to make a purchase. Continue helping the customer and ensuring he is satisfied even after he leaves your store by calling and ensuring the product or service he ordered meets his expectations.
Volunteer in the community. Volunteering helps support the community you service and instantly bolster your business’s reputation. Become a sponsor of an event that you support or donate money to a local charity. Getting your business’s name out there and showing people that you’re willing to give back will improve people’s perceptions of your business.
Ask customers for their opinion about your business. Hand out surveys after each transaction. Offer an incentive, such as a chance at winning a free product, so that the customer fills out and returns the survey. If a large majority of customers has the same concerns and complaints, look to make more changes to meet the customer’s expectations.
Train your staff. Instruction employees to demonstrate a positive, welcoming attitude. Explain that negativity and rudeness are never acceptable. Tali Yahalom of Inc.com suggests making customers feel welcomed by ensuring that all employees greet customers when they see them.