In today's blog post, I'm returning to a favourite theme of mine: customer service.
This is one area in which many organisations, especially retailers, get it wrong.
The infographic from Customer Service Heroes provides 25 crucial tips - from the
need for great listening skills to having good body language to help you win
and keep customers.
Part of reputation management is about 'reinvention'; in other words, presenting the 'best side' of clients; 'accentuating the positive' or 'making the mediocre marvellous'.
In many cases - especially when someone wants to confront negative publicity head on - it may be tempting to stray into what is essentially advertising or marketing language. This is where the ethics get murky.
Any good reputation manager will resist a client's pleas to package them like the next big thing. Too many adjectives describing how wonderful a person is can look like puff, ring hollow and will inevitably be difficult to live up to.
LinkedIn is the place for presenting your professional profile to the world. It's a source of great industry contacts, leads and potential job opportunities. Along with Facebook and Twitter, it's become an essential source of information for anyone to gauge a person's standing and credibility and make a judgement on whether they can do business with or employ them.
The value of the business networking site makes it tempting for people to 'pimp their profile'. For example, if someone worked as an assistant product manager at a family-owned business in Birmingham, England and happened to take a couple of orders from America, can they legitimately claim to have 'led business development initiatives into global territories'?
I have no idea how many people in their current roles have lied, but there have been well-publicized examples of individuals being caught out for being somewhat 'creative' with their academic and career history.
It might be considered 'harmless tweaking' for some, but imagine for a second if people lie about their qualifications to become a doctor, pilot or engineer. In these cases, people's lives are in danger.
So, before you put finger to keyboard to ramp up your resume, check out the infographic below from accounting and finance recruitment firm Robert Half...
You might get away with telling a tall tale.
But what if you don't?
I couldn't help but smile at Kia Motor's clever wordplay in a recent advertising campaign: "Our cars speak for themselves. Our customers speak for us." This is brand advocacy at its best.
For a company to sustain its reputation, it needs more than just a big marketing budget, decent products and/or services and a portfolio of glowing reviews.
It needs passion and conviction.
Let's take the example of consumer electronics giant Apple. Few brands (Kia included) can conjure up the loyalty of millions of people around the world, many of whom are happy to line up for hours to get their hands on a minimally upgraded version of a product they already own, or engage in verbal and literary warfare over its supposed superiority over Windows PCs.
Perhaps that's why I'm fascinated by the concept of brand advocacy. especially for 'designer' products. In my (admittedly cynical) view, I find it bizarre and slightly disturbing that millions of people pay huge sums of money for items, then ecstatically parade around the high street with shopping bags prominently displaying the brand owners' logos.
These 'unpaid human billboards' will not get a single penny for marketing on behalf of the designer brand, nor will they receive any credit for helping to create and maintain product awareness by using branded products.
This masterstroke by brand owners may be based on a simple, winning formula: premium pricing + 'exclusivity' = 'brand advocate friendliness'...?
Maybe I'll pick up on this in a future post.
In the meantime, let's focus on the power of brand advocacy.
A big thank you to brand advocacy firm, Ciceron for the infographic.
Today, The Reputation Manager features a lively infographic from Trackur,
which provides social media monitoring tools and sentiment analysis software.
'Ultimate' may overstating things a bit, but this guide is definitely worth viewing,
as it comtains logical, step-by-step instructions for businesses and individuals
who are interested in finding out what people are saying about them online.
Along with the low barriers to entry compared to setting up shop on the high street, there are rich rewards to be gained in selling goods and services on the internet. Recent research from eMarketer predicts a 17% increase in business-to-consumer (B2C) ecommerce this year, with worldwide sales expected to reach $1.2 TRILLION.
However, the 'bonanza' has a flip-side. These days, the 'typical' customer is just as likely to be based in Bangalore as in Boston, and wherever they may live, consumers may feel entitled to demand that companies deliver on their promises. A global customer base means a diversity of opinions, so dealing with negative reviews for late delivery, poor communication or shoddy goods, is probably the biggest reputation management challenge faced by online retailers on a daily basis.
Aside from making a direct complaint through a company's website, an unsatisfied customer has the choice of going to one or more of the large number of review sites set up to enable them to have their say.
Of course, not all negative reviews are 'legitimate.' Rivals have been known to trash a competitor's reputation while posing as a genuine purchaser orpaying others to do so.
Ultimately, there's very little a company can do to prevent someone from saying something nasty about their brand or products, except to focus on providing excellent service, constantly adapting and continually listening to its customers - even the angry ones.
Reviews are relevant and important to businesses, as revealed in a recent survey by Bright Local, and illustrated in the infographic below, which comes from digital branding agency, Blue Polo Interactive.
Since its origins in a US government research project, in the 1960s, the internet's
growth has been phenomenal, with no hint of exaggeration.
Along with the utilities, access to the world wide web has become an 'essential' in
the developed world, and of rapidly increasing importance in developing countries.
Today's infographic is particularly interesting, from a reputation management
point of view, as it provides an easily digestible snapshot of online activity which
reveals where people may be talking about you...and what they're using to do so!
Thanks to the lovely folk at Visually and Bixa Media.
Social Media was around long before Facebook, Twitter and Google+; in fact it's been around for nearly 45 years!
This fascinating fact is contained in the following infographic designed byKarim Benyagoub for Cendrine Marrouat.
The infographic was originally published at Creative Ramblings.
I'm wrapping up this week with a simple, but informative guide to building
a "5 star" online reputation from marketing firm Reach Local.
See you online - in the best possible way! :
Content marketing has gained popularity among businesses in recent years as a 'win-win' approach to gaining customers and credibility by providing informative, educational and sometimes entertaining information, using a variety of methods including infographics, videos, articles and ebooks.
Unlike traditional marketing which has a primary focus on selling, content marketing is based on creation, communication and sharing, with the aim of building awareness and loyalty.
With modern consumers wise and resistant to the tricks and tactics of advertisers, new thinking was needed to encourage people to engage with brands without feeling 'sold to' and under pressure to buy. This is where content marketing's subtlety is winning.
Apart from increasing sales, content marketing can be used as a great way to build a reputation, as you can see in the illustration below.
The privilege of being a CEO in a modern company comes with a lot more responsibility than keeping an eagle eye on the balance sheet and battling competitors for market share.
These days, they have also have to contend with demands from investors, the media and customers for more transparency, which in turns leads to more scrutiny. That scrutiny increasingly involves zeroing in on the comments and activities of CEOs themselves.
What they do, can - and often does - affect their business, in terms of sales and the stock price.
According to CEO.com which created the infographic below, nearly 50% of a company's reputation can be attributed to the CEO, an increase of 20% since 1997.
There's no place to hide, whether you're a veteran grey-suited board member or a rock star entrepreneur.
See their guide on how to 'pump up your volume and 'pimp your profile'.
Thoughts on customer service, communication and, of course, reputation management.