Your brand is more than just a logo or set of carefully chosen colors. A great brand influences how your customers feel about your business: it highlights what you stand for as an organization and how you set yourself apart from the competition.
If you want to ensure consistent continuity for your business, make sure to cultivate loyal customers and attract new opportunities as often as possible. You need to know how to build and maintain a good brand reputation.
Remember, while it takes a lot of work to create a good reputation, all it takes is a few simple mistakes to bring everything crashing down around you.
Here are 5 situations that could damage your brand reputation and what you can do about them.
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1. Bad Customer Support
Customers value experience more than anything else these days. Even if you have the best products or the most amazing prices and services, your customers won’t stick with you if you fail to provide a great experience.
Optimal customer experience is quick, efficient, and relevant to your client’s needs. If you’re not sure whether your customer experience is on track, here are a few things you can check:
- Speed: How quickly can your customers get answers to their questions when they’re having problems? Can they find solutions to their issues using website FAQs? Is your team always available through instant chat, phone calls, or email?
- Simplicity: Is it easy for your customers to locate your contact details? Do you offer methods of communicating they feel comfortable with, like instant messaging, instead of email?
- Consistency: Do your customers get the same quality of service regardless of whether they’re reaching out to you on social media or connecting via phone call? Does your team have a set of best practices to follow, just in case?
The longer your customers have to wait to get the help they need and the more frustrating the service experience is, the more unhappy they become.
If your users don’t feel as though they’re getting the best experience from you, today’s competitive landscape makes it easy for them to seek a solution elsewhere.
2. Failing to Keep Your Promises
A brand is an assurance to your audience about what you can give them. If you’ve built your identity around a promise of excellent quality, great prices, and transparent production processes, then you need to make sure you’re following through.
Today’s customers want absolute honesty from brands, which means that you can’t afford to promise the world if you can’t deliver.
Inconsistency makes a brand seem inauthentic, which means that your customers begin to question whether they can trust you.
When you’re selling your products and services to clients, be careful not to promise too much. Be realistic about what you can offer, so you’re not putting your business under too much pressure. It’s better to under-promise and over-deliver if you want to build great brand relationships.
If you make a promise that you can’t keep or make a mistake that’s inconsistent with your brand image, don’t try to sweep it under the rug.
Own up to your errors, and let your customers know how you’re going to avoid making the same mistakes next time.
Your customers will forgive you for little mistakes from time to time, and your honesty will help them trust you in the future.
3. Dealing with Bad Reviews the Wrong Way
There are a lot of situations that might prompt a customer to leave your business a bad review. Perhaps you promised delivery at a particular time, and it turned up late. Maybe it took forever for a customer rep to answer the phone when a client needed help.
Unfortunately, no matter how hard you try to give your audience the best possible experience, there’s always a chance that something will go wrong. When bad reviews happen, you need to ensure that you know how to deal with them.
For instance, if you get a bad review on Google or TripAdvisor, the worst thing you can do is either ignore it or try to have it deleted.
If you turn a blind eye to too many comments, your customers will assume that you don’t respect feedback and have no interest in improving.
Alternatively, suppose you delete reviews on a platform that you own. In that case, your customers will post those testimonials elsewhere, often with even more scathing words after you’ve tried to silence them once.
Reviews are an excellent learning opportunity for brands and a chance to improve. Respond to the messages that your customers leave politely and let them know that you’re going to find a way to resolve the problem. Accountability signals to both existing and future customers that you care about keeping your clients happy.
4. Mishandling Customer Data
Data is a valuable tool for any business these days. When customers give you their data, you can add them to your email marketing campaign and turn one-off purchases into repeat clients.
You can use the data you collect about your eCommerce store to determine which of your products is the most popular, and what time of day your customers are most active.
Unfortunately, the more information you collect, the more of a risk you face. That’s because today’s customers need to feel assured that the companies they interact with are keeping their information safe.
If you lose data because of a cyber-attack, damage to your systems, or anything else, then your customers won’t be happy.
The first step in preventing a data disaster is making sure you have the right systems in place to store and manage data.
Ensure your cloud storage systems are secure and encrypted and avoid holding onto data for longer than you need it. You need to have a plan B and an action plan in place to know exactly what you need to do when there’s a problem with your data.
At the same time, make sure that everyone in your company knows how to reduce the risks of cyberattacks and issues. Your team should be fully aware of phishing scams and how they work, in addition to using two-factor authentication to reduce the risk of outside access to important documents.
5. Copying the Competition
Finally, when you’re struggling to find inspiration for a new product or service, or you don’t know how to make your new marketing campaign stand out, it’s tempting to turn to your competition for insights.
Competitor analysis offers inspiration and guidance when you’re facing a creative block. It’s also an excellent opportunity to pinpoint ideas that rival companies might have missed.
However, be careful to avoid merely copying what the competitors in your landscape are doing.
Copy-pasting content from another business blog onto your own with a few words changed won’t make you look like a thought leader.
Taking another brand’s idea and recreating it in different colors doesn’t make you a visionary.
Whatever you do, make sure your business remains unique.
When in doubt, look at your brand values and unique selling points for insights on how you can make your assets stand out. Don’t let yourself blend in with the crowd.
Protect Your Brand
An excellent brand reputation can take years to build, but only days to destroy. If you’re not careful, one unfavorable blog post or poor customer experience could bring your entire company crashing down. Make sure that you’re prepared to protect your reputation with the tips above.
Author – Ashley Wilson
Ashley Wilson is a digital nomad and writer for hire, specialized in business and tech topics. In her self-care time, she practices yoga via Youtube. She has been known to reference movies in casual conversation and enjoys trying out new food. You can get in touch with Ashley via Twitter.