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
Published on December 17, 2018
15 Important Interview Questions to Ask Employees During an Interview
The importance of asking great questions cannot be overstated. Great questions help you discover new things, diagnose existing problems, and explore how well solutions are working in your life or business. Whether you work with consultants, executives, or entry-level employees, you cannot skip questions.
Now imagine running a company where sustainability and profitability depends on your ability to determine the brightest minds and skills in the industry in a single conversation:
How do you know they’re the perfect fit for you? How do you assess their communication skills? How do you know they won’t cost your team in the long run?
You know it already; ask great questions!
The concept of asking questions isn’t new but there is a great chance that you’re not taking full advantage of it. A Harvard Business Review article refers to questioning as a powerful tool that unlocks value, fuels innovation and performance improvement. As a hiring manager or recruiter, how to you get this information when you’re meeting a candidate for the first time?
Ask great questions, of course.
Without further ado, here are 15 interview questions to ask employees during an interview:
1. “What are your career goals?”
Another version of this question is “What types of problems do you see yourself solving in the future?”
This question is almost never asked and when it is asked, most questions are geared towards knowing how long the employees intends to stay in the company.
Instead of asking leading questions that would steer employees into declaring undying loyalty for the organization, ask what types of problems they hope to solve in the future.
This does two things:
- It reveals the skills and interest in your employees.
- It lets you know what types of candidates you are attracting in the first place.
With this, you’re able to trend this data to improve how you market your job opening. And if employee retention is pertinent to you, you can use this information to improve the job function so that future employees can see their future selves in this role.
2. “Why do you think you’re a great fit?”
It is important to go beneath the surface to ask questions that make the candidates speak about themselves in their own words. However, a surprising benefit of asking this question is that you’re able to determine how well-versed a candidate really is with the company’s challenges and goals, in addition to their personal attributes.
Instead of listing off accomplishments, an exceptional employee is able to help you see how these previous accomplishment can translate into helping your organization solve its current business problems.
3. “What do you hope to learn from this role?”
The answers to this question can reveal if there is a job-skill match and if a linear career progression is expected.
As you listen carefully and mind these answers from candidates, you begin to see trends in responses that help you refine how you develop roles, responsibilities, how employees see themselves, and what they want their career to look like.
4. “How do you deal with conflict between colleagues?”
Almost every breakdown in relationship is caused by miscommunication or lack of effective interpersonal skills. But a solid indicator of how well a person communicates is how they manage interpersonal conflict.
Conflict management skills is no longer something required only for corporations who wish to settle million-dollar lawsuits. It’s an essential skill that every worker ought to possess and can make or break an organization.
Tip: Ask for a time when they didn’t get along with a co-worker and how they resolved the conflict.
5. “How did you learn about this position?”
Asking how they learned about the position reveals how the brand is perceived by the outside world. This way, you know if your current employees is your biggest source of referrals for qualified applicants.
This also lets you know how effective your current staffing processes are and which channels are worth the effort.
6. “Why are you interested in this position?”
Again, another seemingly basic question. But when you field applications from candidates who are transferring their skills from a different department or industry, you want to know why the change was made.
What led to the aha moment? What was the internal struggle like for them? What stands out to them about this particular position? Very important.
7. “What excites you the MOST about this position?”
After establishing how passionate they are about this position, it’s not unusual that you would want to know what tasks and responsibilities excite them most. With this knowledge, not only are you aware of their sense of ownership, you help nurture these skills by encouraging and facilitating the discovery of hidden potential in your employees.
For example, a hospital nurse might detest inserting intravenous catheters in patients but jump at the task of motivating colleagues and initiating stress-reduction activities on hospital units. An office employee might cringe at the thought of public speaking but excel at creating world-class presentations.
While you can’t exempt your employee from every task in the role because they favor one thing over another, you are more aware of how rich your existing talent pool is in your organization and can utilize your talents effectively.
8. “What do you consider your weakness?”
Why should you ask a candidate what his or her weakness is when all you want is someone perfect?
Admitting a weakness shouldn’t automatically disqualify a candidate. Rather, it reveals to you how self-aware the candidate is.
Self-awareness is essential to personal and professional development, and this is sometimes a precursor to how self-directed a person is regarding their career goals.
There are arguments about the need to abolish the weakness question from interviews because it reduces candidates’ accomplishments. I disagree.
Asking employees about weaknesses lets you understand your employees better so you can not only create a work environment that is smart, you’re able to design professional development programs that can strengthen these weaknesses.
9. “What will you find challenging about this position?”
Maybe you don’t want to ask the ”weakness question.” Maybe you’re more concerned about the capacity to perform in the current job rather than their job history.
Still, you want to know if you have a creative problem solver and how they feel about potential problems when they arise. You also want to anticipate how your employees will adjust to their roles once they are successfully hired. Self-awareness about one’s ability and limits can be observed by asking this question during an interview.
Note: This question should never be asked with a malicious intent. Exceptional employees come with flaws and this should be expected. They key is knowing whether the successful candidate is willing to be a problem solver.
10. “What additional support will you need during your transition?”
This is a very important question during the interview question because not only is the labor market diverse, the response to this question can be used to develop the orientation process and additional training materials.
As a mentor to newer nurses, this is a question I repeat more than 50 percent of the time during the orientation period. The responses I get provide me with insights into what employees really consider as constraints so that I can make their transition as smooth as possible.
11. “What qualities do you desire in a leader or manager?”
Not everyone desires a manager who provides direction while giving you free rein to make your job your own. At the same time, some employees might prefer a manager who is detail-oriented and provides all the answers.
Knowing this before a candidate is hired can prevent conflict arising from differences in communication or management styles.
12. “What do you do if you don’t agree with your manager’s decisions?”
Conflict not only happens between employees. According to a study of conflict in the Canadian workforce, about 81 percent of people leave the organization as a result of conflict.
The purpose of this question is to determine how adaptable an employee is to different communication styles, what they consider deal breakers, and how they model desired behavior when conflict arises.
The responses to this question allows you to manage expectations and an indication for leaders to continuously work on their communication and conflict management skills.
13. “What would make this company an amazing place to work?”
Maybe you can’t provide free lunches or paid hours of free time at work like bigger companies. But answers to this question can reveal a lot about what employees think is crucial to well-being.
In a study of nearly 17,000 employees, it was noted that an increase in stress level is directly correlated to workplace injury. While this interview won’t eradicate organizational constraints or stressors, feedback from candidates and employees on what makes a company a great place to work is the perfect place to start.
14. “What other questions do you have for me?”
Although this is a conversation to determine the best fit for your team, company, or organization, the interview goes both ways. Yes, you are also being scrutinized by your interviewee.
The purpose of this question is to create space to answer the candidate’s questions about your organization. You also get to provide insight on processes, expectations, team culture, and information that isn’t readily available on the company website.
15. “Tell me about yourself”
If everything else seems too much, lead with this timeless question. You simply cannot go wrong here.
Sometimes, the best answers come from open-ended queries. This is your best chance to know the candidate’s history, career accomplishments, and get a feel for their career goals all at the same time.
It is less intrusive and leading with this question makes it easier to approach other questions––depending on how sensitive the position is.
The Bottom Line
Conversation is a two-way street. Good questions can give you great insights into the value an employee can bring to your company. But there is an art and science to asking questions.
While you won’t become an expert right off the bat, these questions provide a good foundation to start from if you want to attract and retain top talent in your organization.
More Resources About Job Interview
- 10 Things Strong Interview Candidates Do That Make Them Get Hired Every Time
- How I Get Interview Opportunities Every Time with One Impressive Letter
- What to Do When Asked About Weaknesses in a Job Interview
- Best 10 Interview Questions for Managers to Hire Exceptional Employee
Featured photo credit: Drew Beamer via unsplash.com
|||^||Harvard Business Review: The Surprising Power of Questions|
|||^||Psychometrics Conflict Study: Warring Egos,Toxic Individuals, Feeble Leadership|
|||^||BMJ Journals: Health risk factors as predictors of workers’ compensation claim occurrence and cost|