As a business owner you undoubtedly have a number of competing priorities that you have to handle on a daily basis. From general operations and marketing, to customers and client appointments, personnel issues, and much more. There is always something more to be done and plenty of things to improve upon. One thing that many business owners may not be giving enough thought and attention to is the importance of reputation management training for employees.
Reputation management has become a big “thing” for business owners, especially in the increasingly transparent digital space that we are living in. There is not much that can’t be found through a simple Google search.
Managing your online reputation should be a concerted team effort. As a business owner you can’t do this alone. You need your employees to know that they are an extension of your business and that their actions, both positive and negative, reflect on your business. This holds true whether they are in the office, on the phone, or online.
Although you can’t dictate what an employee does with their private social media profiles, your employees still need to understand that any behaviors that could be deemed “offensive” or “negative” could negatively impact your business. This is especially true if employees are listing you as their employer or if their social activity sheds negative light on your office, services, or customers.
Consider this example back from 2010 that influenced social media policy for many small and large businesses. This happened at a Domino’s Pizza when a prank video became a YouTube sensation.
Two North Carolina Domino’s employees uploaded a video where one employee put cheese up his nose while making a sandwich at work. The other employee narrated.
The video went viral and the company was humiliated.
Training your employees on things like business ethics, reputation management, customer service expectations, and social media activity related to your business are all things that you should consider having policies in place for.
The concept that the customer is always right is a great long-term business practice.
When it comes to reputation, everything loops back to customer service and the overall customer experience. An unhappy, angry, or offended customers is 100 times louder online and offline than a happy customer. Your employees need to understand that and do everything they can to ensure you have more of the latter!
Training your staff to put the customer experience above all other priorities is a great way to be proactive about reputation management. If your employees are delivering consistently great service day in and day out, you won’t have to spend much time worrying about or managing your reputation. In fact, at that point you’ll actually be ready to move on and start marketing your business’s 5 star reputation.
Many potential customers are using online reviews to decide between your business or a local competitor, but your employees may not realize how important online reviews are for your business. The manner in which your employees conduct themselves at work can make or break the overall customer experience, resulting in positive or negative online reviews.
Too many negative reviews can result in lost business opportunities. If this happens at a large scale it can actually lead to decreased revenue, profits, and ultimately a cut in available hours for your employees. This is really bad news for everyone involved.
Conversely, the more positive reviews your business has online, the more attention and business opportunities you’ll get. As your “5 star” reputation grows you may even be able to increase hours and staffing levels to handle the new business. Wouldn’t that be great problem to have!
The best way to explain this to employees is through example. Here’s a great one to use:
Let’s say you have a potential customer looking for a new dentist (or insert your service here). Most people will revert to a quick Google search if they don’t have a specific dentist in mind. Depending on the area you live, Google will give them many local options to choose from. So which dentist will they choose? The one with the best reputation (or most 5 star reviews) usually wins.
If you can stress the importance of how your employees actions and customer service abilities impact your business’s reputation and revenue, then you will be one step closer to having control of your business’s reputation.
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