As Warren Buffett is famous for saying, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
In that context, your company’s brand is a massive liability. It is incredibly difficult to build up its reputation, and in the world of 24/7 internet reviews and viral sensations, it can only take one misstep to completely destroy it.
If you want to protect your company’s reputation, and prove that you’re a reliable provider to both current and future customers, you need to utilize these four strategic tools.
1. Facebook and Twitter Customer Contact
When a customer has an issue, they’re going to tell friends and family. In fact, a recent study found that customers are 95% likely to share a poor experience with others. Only 85% of those surveyed could recall telling someone about a positive experience with a brand or service. In the world of smartphones, tablets and computers, that sharing is happening via social media.Advertising
Your company needs a proactive social media policy that accomplishes the following:
- Identify positive and negative brand mentions and interactions online.
- Establish contact with dissatisfied customers, and thank satisfied customers for the mention.
- Publicly invite dissatisfied customers to make immediate, personal contact with a team member that can resolve their issue.
- Create content that positively highlights the brand’s USP’s.
2. Proactively Monitor Service Reliability
If you want to identify a hero at creating reliable customer solutions, look at Apple. The Cupertino firm leads the traditional PC manufacturers by double digits in customer satisfaction and component reliability according to Consumer Reports. This is a big part of why Apple is sitting on more cash than the US Government has on hand.
Depending on the type of company you operate, and the services you offer your customers, your needs for monitoring your reliability in real-time will change slightly. Here are a few tools to consider implementing:
- Database Management and Monitoring Software
- Independent contractors must be utilized to reliably survey customer satisfaction.
- Hire mystery shoppers to test your systems and product experience.
- Actively monitor customer engagement; repeat orders, average basket size, etc.
3. Perform Background Checks on Business Partners and Outside Vendors
When your company expands and scales, you’ll inevitably end up working with outside vendors to supplement your existing offering. As you bring on partners, carefully perform background checks to thoroughly vet potential relationships. Creating a partnership with a company that drops the ball will directly impact your company’s reputation.Advertising
For example, Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T and many other cellular service providers utilize a company called Asurion to administer their hardware insurance services. I can tell you from first-hand experience, working with them to fix or replace a broken phone is a nightmare. I have switched to an alternate provider on more than one occasion due to their failure to provide quick and reasonable service.
Don’t let your company fall into the trap of outsourcing to shoddy vendors. Your customers will punish you for it. It could be the thing that keeps your business from becoming an iconic brand. One of the most iconic brands, the world over, is Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Media. The vast majority of their business revolves around licensing arrangements, which resulted from the reputation of the brand.
As a recent article points out, “Virgin’s popularity as a brand in the eighties far outstripped its market size and it achieved this simply by challenging everything that our well-established long-haul airline market was built on, publically upsetting the applecart in the process. It has stood by these values ever since and people continue to love the brand for flying in the face of the establishment.”
Becoming an iconic brand requires strong partnerships with reliable 3rd parties, especially if you’re looking to “upset the applecart”.Advertising
4. Utilize Strong Security Software and Policies
Customer data breaches are becoming increasingly common. In 2015 alone there were 781 individually reported data breaches of customer data at a corporate level. This means hackers are able to penetrate a corporation’s firewall and access credit card information, billing addresses, names and potentially social security numbers of customers that utilize a product or service.
According to some reports, the average data breach causes at least $3.79 million dollars in damage to the companies that fall victim to these attacks. These damages take the form of lost sales, higher operating costs and customer losses due to the attacks. Don’t leave your company vulnerable to this kind of loss.
To protect yourself and your company, there are some basic protocols that can be followed:
- Limit personal devices connected to corporate infrastructure.
- Mandate randomized passwords that are changed monthly on all systems.
- Encrypt corporate data before transmitting.
- Aggressively limit employee access to internal data.
- Insure that terminated employees lose access prior to termination.
- Use robust hosting with powerful hardware, software and 24/7 support.
- Educate employees on common tactics used by hackers to gain entry through phishing scams and other illegitimate means.
In A Connected World, Reputations Are Lost in A Flash
Your company and your personal reputation are incredibly important to your ability to conduct future business. Don’t let software snags, hackers, or unreliable vendors cause unnecessary damage to your brand’s reputation for providing a reliable service. You have the power to protect your company, and the four steps mentioned above offer an excellent starting point.Advertising
Are you prepared to do what it takes to provide excellent service and protect your company’s reputation?
Featured photo credit: Cydcor via flickr.com
Last Updated on August 20, 2019
How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work
Career advancement is an enticement that today’s companies use to lure job candidates. But to truly uncover growth opportunities within a company, it’s up to you to take the initiative to move up.
You can’t rely on recruiter promises that your company will largely hire from within. Even assurances you heard from your direct supervisor during the interviewing process may not pan out. But if you begin a job knowing that you’re ultimately responsible for getting yourself noticed, you will be starting one step ahead.
Accomplished entrepreneur and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman said,
“If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”
It’s important to recognize that taking charge of your own career advancement, and then mapping out the steps you need to succeed, is key to moving forward on your trajectory.
Make a Point of Positioning Yourself as a Rising Star
As an employee looking for growth opportunities within your current company, you have many avenues to position yourself as a rising star.
As an insider, you’re able to glean insights on company strategies and apply your expertise where it’s most needed. Scout out any skills gaps, then make a point to acquire and apply them. And, when you have creative ideas to offer, make it your mission to gain the ear of those in the organization who can put your ideas to the test.
Valiant shows of commitment and enterprise make managers perk up and take notice, keeping you ahead of both internal and external competitors.
Employ these other useful tips to let your rising star qualities shine:
1. Promote Your Successes to Your Higher-Ups
When your boss casually asks how you’re doing, use this valuable moment to position yourself as indispensable: “I’m floating on clouds because three clients have already commented on how well they like my redesign of the company website.”
Tell your supervisors about any and all successes. Securing a new contract or signing a new customer should be a cause for celebration. Be sure to let your bosses know.
2. Cultivate Excellent Listening Skills
Listen well, and ask great questions. Realize that people love to talk about themselves.
But if you’re a superb listener, others will confide in you, and you’ll learn from what they share. You may even find out something valuable about your own prospects in the company.
If others view you as even-minded and thoughtful, they’ll respect your ideas and, in turn, listen to what you have to say.
Check out these important listening skills: 13 Powerful Listening Skills to Improve Your Life at Work and at Home
3. Go to All Office Networking Events
Never skip the office Christmas party, your coworker’s retirement party, or any office birthday parties, wedding showers, or congratulatory parties for colleagues.
If others see you as a team player, it will help you rise in your company. These on-site parties will also help you mingle with co-workers whom you might not ordinarily have the chance to see. For special points, help organize one or two of these get-togethers.
Take the Extra Step to Show Your Value to the Company
Managers and HR staff know that it can be less risky – and a lot less costly — to promote from within. As internal staff, you likely have a good grasp of the authority structure and talent pool in the company, and know how to best navigate these networks in achieving both the company’s goals and your own.
The late Nobel-Prize winning economist, Gary Becker, coined the term “firm-specific,” which describes the unique skills required to excel in an individual organization. You, as a current employee, have likely tapped into these specific skills, while external hires may take a year or more to master their nuances.
Know that your experience within the company already provides value, then find ways to add even more value, using these tips:
4. Show Initiative
Commit yourself to whatever task you’re given, and make a point of going above and beyond.
Position yourself so that you’re ready to take on any growth opportunities that present themselves. If you believe you have skills that have gone untapped, find a manager who will give you a chance to prove your worth.
Accept any stretch assignment that showcases your readiness for advancement. Stay late, and arrive early. Half of getting the best assignments is sticking around long enough to receive them.
5. Set Yourself Apart by Staying up on Everything There Is to Know About Your Company and Its Competitors
Subscribe to and read the online trade journals. Become an active member in your industry’s network of professionals. Go to industry conferences, and learn your competitors’ strategies.
Be the on-the-ground eyes and ears for your organization to stay on top of industry trends.
6. Go to Every Company Meeting Prepared and Ready to Learn
A lot of workers feel meetings are an utter waste of time. They’re not, though, because they provide face-time with higher-ups and those in a position to give you the growth opportunities you need.
Go with the intention of absorbing information and using it to your advantage — including the goals and work styles of your superiors. Respect the agenda, listen more than you speak, and never beleaguer a point.
Accelerate Your Career Growth Opportunities
A recent study found that the five predictors of employees with executive potential were: the right motivation, curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination. These qualities help you stand out, but it’s also important to establish a track record of success and to not appear to be over-reaching in your drive to move up in your company.
Try to see yourself from your boss’s position and evaluate your promote-ability.
Do you display a passion and commitment toward meeting the collective goals of the company? Do you have a motivating influence with team members and show insight and excellence in all your work?
These qualities will place you front and center when growth opportunities arise.
Use these strategic tips to escalate your opportunities for growth:
7. Find a Mentor
With mentorship programs fast disappearing, this isn’t always easy. But you need to look for someone in the company who has been promoted several times and who also cares about your progress.
Maybe it’s the person who recommended you for the job. Or maybe it’s your direct supervisor. It could even be someone across the hall or in a completely different department.
Talk to her or him about growth opportunities within your company. Maybe she or he can recommend you for a promotion.
Not sure how to find the right mentor? Here’s How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed.
8. Map out Your Own Growth Opportunity Chart
After you’ve worked at the company for a few months, work out a realistic growth chart for your own development. This should be a reasonable, practical chart — not a pie-in-the-sky wish list of demands.
What’s reasonable? Do you think being promoted within two years is reasonable? What about raises? Try to inform your own growth chart with what you’ve heard about other workers’ raises and promotions.
Once you’ve rigorously charted a realistic path for your personal development within the company, try to talk to your mentor about it.
Keep refining your chart until it seems to work with your skills and proven talents. Then, arrange a time to discuss it with your boss.
You may want to time the discussion around the time of your performance review. Then your boss can weigh in with what he feels is reasonable, too.
9. Set Your Professional Bar High
Research shows that more than two-thirds of workers are just putting in their time. But through your active engagement in the organization and commitment to giving your best, you can provide the contrast against others giving lackluster performances.
Cultivate the hard skills that keep you on the cutting edge of your profession, while also refining your soft skills. These are the attributes that make you better at embracing diverse perspectives, engendering trust, and harnessing the power of synergy.
Even if you have an unquestionably left-brain career — a financial analyst or biotechnical engineer, for example — you’re always better off when you can form kind, courteous, quality relationships with colleagues.
Let integrity be the cornerstone of all your interactions with clients and co-workers.
The Bottom Line
Growth opportunities are available for those willing to purposely and adeptly manage their own professional growth. As the old adage says,
“Half of life is showing up.”
The other half is sticking around so that when your boss is looking for someone to take on a more significant role, you are among the first who come to mind.
Remember, your career is your business!
More About Continuous Growth
- 30 Amazing Tips To Make Your Personal Growth 10 Times Faster
- 10 Reasons Personal Growth Is Important No Matter How Old You Are
- 42 Practical Ways To Improve Yourself
- 5 Ways to Cultivate a Growth Mindset for Self Improvement
Featured photo credit: Zach Lucero via unsplash.com