The shift of power to the customer regarding the reputation of your business is one of the most significant and permanent impacts of the Internet. The power to “like” or “dislike” your business with authority is now in the hands of individual customers. Before the advent of the Internet, a disgruntled customer had the option of placing a telephone call or writing a snail-mail letter to your company’s complaint department, now a single customer can inform millions about their experience with your business in less than one minute.
Complaints can be sent to companies from their own websites and social media accounts, consumer experience blogs, and individual social media accounts. Are the complaints always accurate or fair? No, but when Tweeted to millions, a complaint can start a vicious cycle. The importance of a company’s digital presence and online communications are now recognized as highly important, and that means more than simply having a website. The customer experience begins the moment a customer enters your door (whether real or digital) and no longer affects only one sale—it affects the bottom-line of your business.
It is estimated that 50% of Americans own smart phones. The ease with which customers can broadcast their experiences, from literally anywhere at any time, with your employees and products can seem overwhelming. Customers can post, Tweet, and blog while they stand in your store, as they talk to your sales representatives, or post-purchase.
Several independent agencies publish annual reports measuring companies’ reputations as perceived by customers. Their reports suggest that focusing on connecting with customers and conveying a brand image is the most important goal a company can have in its marketing efforts.
A company can spend half of its yearly profits on advertising, but because advertising is only as effective as the products/services offered by the company, buying advertising cannot save their reputation. If you offer an inferior product or poor customer service, customers now have access to thousands of reviews online and can compare the shopping experience your company offers with that of all of your competitors. Time and money is better spent fixing the root of any customer perception problems.
At NBRI, we believe the first step to ensuring customer satisfaction, and thereby ensuring a sterling online reputation, is a customer survey to determine any positive or negative feelings that your customers may have about their experience with your brand. Use the survey results to determine a proper course of corrective action, then resurvey periodically to gauge the effectiveness of your improvement initiatives. Contact us today to get started.