Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Take a Look

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If you have recently been online on one of the many search engine sites you might have passed a few articles that gave a list of the best and worst brands, best schools and so on. These lists are compiled every year around this time and are the results of thousands of surveys taken throughout the year. One list I neglected to mention really caught my eye. It was a list of the worst companies to work for.

This list included ten companies that we all have heard of and may have used them in the past or we might be using them now. Current employees and former employees were all surveyed based on some questions and when the percentages came back the numbers were very alarming. The one thing I noticed that these companies had in common besides being on this list, was their employees really hated working there and that the companies main objective was completing the sale they could care less about the customer.

Two very alarming trends but most importantly two ways to get your businesses reputation destroyed which is partly done already because you are on this list. My first thought about the companies that made this list - are they aware of this? If they are, what are they doing to change it? Do they even care? Most companies will pay little attention to these types of lists because they feel it doesn't represent what their company means or they are under the impression that they have employees that love coming to work every day.

They might give internal surveys and based on the result of that they would think they are doing a good job when it comes to employee relations and customer relations. Not a good list to go off of because it is very biased and employees might be afraid to speak out fearing they will lose their job. So it is safe to surmise those internal surveys give a false result. The lists that are posted should be a wakeup call to any CEO whose company made that list. It is public and the whole world can see what type of business you're running which will definitely have an impact on stock prices and the board won't be too happy either.

It is time to get help and begin to patch the relationship up between you and your employees. You have to think about the future and recruiting talent down the line. If you're on this list and have not made any types of improvements talent will pass you by without looking back. I have written before about how important employee morale was to the image of a business and that if it is bad the whole company is going down. What you can take from these lists are ways to improve your image by starting in house. You may think no one is watching or reading these lists but judging by the amount of comments left under the article themselves you are severely wrong.

Lists can sometimes be wake up calls, primarily for those who land on worse of the worst list. It is public for everyone to see and eyes will be watching to see if you are taking the necessary steps to make sure you are not on next year’s list.

The Big Bad Wolf

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The wolf walks with a purpose, strong, unmoved and ready to take on any challenge put in front of it. But there is something grumbling behind its back. Yes, it provides a good product and the customer service is OK. It could be better, but customers don't like the way they are handled. It's almost like a Jekyll and Hyde situation. If you catch it on a good day, you will get the best service imaginable but any other day, forget about it.

This is how some people feel when dealing with many big businesses and companies. They are forced to accept the good with the bad until something better comes their way, and they will be more than happy to take their business elsewhere. Keep in mind, we aren't discussing image or reputation yet, but rather, how customers see you as a whole. Eventually, we will get to these other points.

Having worked in retail, the big bad wolf was often times the customer who no one wanted to deal with. This can be because of the way we see them treat our coworkers or based on our own personal experiences with them. Many times, these patrons have been avoided and didn't even know it. I know you are supposed to do your job no matter what, customer service over everything, but at some point you will have been disrespected enough times by this one patron, leading you to refuse to deal with them at all. You would rather suffer the consequences of missing a big commission deal than face belittlement.

Customers can deal with the label of being the big bad wolf; they can always move on and shop some other place-- the opinion of them is based on the employees at that particular store. A business, on the other hand, should not be happy with that label. It doesn't give off a friendly vibe and worst of all, your image and reputation are taking a hit.

While you might be making a good profit now, that will soon change as more and more businesses are being created that will become competition for you. Suddenly, the big bad wolf is realizing its market share is rapidly decreasing and it is losing customers by the boatload. From this point on, the only thing that may save your business is repairing your reputation in hopes this mass exit from your business will gradually slow down.

No matter how big your business gets, if the customers are unhappy, they will eventually move on to a different business. Even if the new business doesn't provide the great quality that you provide, the respect is what matters to them.

Easy to Mess Up, Hard to Clean

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Why is it that the easiest things to destroy are often the hardest things to fix? Maybe it is the way we are making things these days. It is our fault for not carefully constructing and taking our time to put together well oiled machines. Instead, we throw a bunch of big pieces together and hope they will stay strong long enough to be improved. When you end up in this type of situation, there is going to be a big mess for you to clean up.

Sometimes it is something that means the most to us that can be easily destroyed, so it is imperative to keep a keen eye on the prize and make sure nothing interferes with it. You have to stay alert. Once you take your attention away, that is when you will get all types of influences trying to come in and destroy what you worked hard for. The protection method I just described was for protecting your online reputation.

Your online reputation, aside from your business and your profit, is the most important thing to your professional life. One can argue it might be the most important. If your reputation is negative, then your profit is affected as well as your business as a whole. Your online reputation can go from bad to worse to completely destroyed in the blink of an eye. Never say never, but when your reputation is completely destroyed, the likelihood of you coming back is nearly impossible and will take many years to fix. In fact, the next generation of owners might be the ones to improve it.

I'm sure you don't want to leave a mess for the next generation of owners to clean up, because it will be even harder for them to try and operate a business and improve its reputation. Technology is only advancing as time goes on, so if you think it is something in today's world, picture 10 to 20 years from now. Picture how information will be shared and how valuable a good clean reputation will be.

While this is a wakeup call to you, I would be remiss if I didn't tell you that you have many options available to you to help repair your online reputation. As I stated earlier, a repair can take a very long time. If you don't do it right, it is only going to set you back 10 steps instead of moving you forward. A company like Centel Media™ is the best option to choose. Centel Media™ does a great job of improving your online reputation and making sure it is protected against any attempted attacks.

No one likes cleaning up messes, especially if a mess involves the online reputation of your business. This mess will take years to clean up if the proper help is not called on.