It's such a simple, everyday, five letter word.
But this word, if used improperly, could cost you your reputation and potentially money. A lot of money.
Let me illustrate my point in this scenario:
You sell widgets. A lot of widgets. Every imaginable widget in the world.
You've been told that your business has 'potential', so you spend a few thousand on marketing; you upgrade your website and you wait with feverish anticipation for the traffic and cash to come flowing in.
But it doesn't.
Something has gone wrong and you don't know what. People aren't just engaging with your wonderful world of widgets.
I have a theory, based on my own buying habits and conducting a very rough snap survey of people who buy a lot of stuff online.
Questions ranged from customer service, speed of delivery and pricing to packaging, marketing and website design.
Far and away the most significant issue among respondents was the fact that many website purchases were abandoned because of a lack of information on the 'about' page.
The savvy consumer knows how easy it is to set up a cool-looking website and con people out of their money. That's why it's crucial to include information that can be independently verified.
Trust comes with building a genuine a relationship; a relationship that is based on honesty, transparency and shared interests.
Virtually everybody in my survey would not buy from any site which did not provide sufficient information on the 'about page'. We all wanted 'meaty' information: about the business, the people who set up the site and ideally, a physical address.
It's shocking to see so many sites selling goods or services who refuse or neglect to provide this very basic information.
By doing this simple thing, the widget seller could grab a bigger share of the market and start establishing a good reputation. Plus they would capture the trade of cynical shoppers like me who would be suspicious about they may potentially be hiding.
As the saying goes, people buy from people. This applies as much to large companies (unless you've invested millions in 'personalised software', like Amazon), as with small organisations.
Be honest in word and transparent in deed.
The benefits to your reputation are priceless.
Thoughts on customer service, communication and, of course, reputation management.