The reputation of your business should be treated like gold. That is if it’s worth anything to begin with. Building a reputation based on honesty, standing by the product or service you sell and placing significant emphasis on having satisfied customers will pay dividends over the long-term.
How you deal with vendors, employees and customers all factor in to the reputation you develop. And all three of these constituent groups are critical to the success of any business. Too many companies don’t understand the importance of developing and maintaining a solid reputation as a company that can be trusted, relied upon and that treats people fairly. The basic philosophy and culture of the organization will fuel the perceptions of employees, customers and vendors as well as the public at large.
We believe strongly that organizations have to manage their reputations. They do so from the top. Owners and top management must buy into a philosophy that has at its center honesty, fairness, responsiveness and consistency in how the organization deals with internal and external constituent groups.
Top management should strive to communicate clearly to all employees that they expect them to treat each other, vendors, customers and the public they come in contact with while representing the company in a manner that is consistent with the philosophy described above. When employees deviate from that philosophy, it is important to clarify for them those expectations and reinforce the fact that behaving in a manner inconsistent with the organization’s philosophies is not an option. For employees who just can’t buy into those philosophies, they will be better off finding an organization that better fits their own values and perspectives.
Since each employee has the opportunity to impact the reputation of the organization, all should receive appropriate training in dealing with people in routine and in potential conflict situations. When the reputation of an organization becomes too tarnished, it is either impossible or it takes a long period of time to shift negative perceptions that have been created.
The way an organization conducts business is critical to its long-term success. People want to do business with companies they feel good about. If there is any doubt in their minds, they are less likely to take a chance. Take time to assess what kind of reputation your organization has. Ask employees, customers, vendors and the general public what they think of your company. Use that input to improve upon your approach to doing business.