One area of reputation management that I'm particularly interested in, is customer service. You'll probably work that out by the number of times I've blogged about it.
The reason is simple: I passionately believe that there's no part of an organisation's operation that is as important as how it treats its customers.
By customers, I mean everyone who interacts with it: staff, partners, clients, consumers who view their marketing material and individuals who actually put their hand in their pocket and buy stuff from them.
The simple reason is that, even if a business sells the cheapest product on the market, there's no real long-term gain in treating your customers poorly.
Take for example, the mighty Ryanair, Europe's largest (and most profitable) airline, which carries around 80 million passengers each year. Last October, its famously combative chief executive Michael O'Leary went on a charm offensive to win new customers and retain the ones he already has.
There's a solid business case for this, both in terms of reputation and revenue.
Annoying or alienating customers is counterproductive.
I confess to being one of those consumers who votes with their wallet. Although I have a reasonable tolerance for delays and even wrong deliveries, I find rudeness unacceptable and have - and will - cease to do business with any company which tolerates this type of behaviour.
Maybe I'm reacting to trends which indicate that people are becoming more uncivil towards each other - and even retailers are getting in on the game
Thankfully, there are shining examples (see below) of companies who get it: that treating the customer right - even though they aren't always right - is the best way to build a business and grow a loyal fan base.
Rude retailers, beware!
Thoughts on customer service, communication and, of course, reputation management.