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.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Gain a Boost Through Social Media

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Online Reputation paints a picture about you what you represent over the internet. A lot of different factors come into play when building the type of image that you want, and it is important to embrace and make use of all of the different tools. Social media, responding to your customer's inquiries, and blogging are great examples of what you can do to help your brand name.

Social media is about building a relationship with you and your customers. It is very important when you want to make build a good name. Trust and honesty is a must when dealing with your customers. You do not want your customers to have skeptical thoughts about your business, because this leads to negative experiences and possibly negative comments. Remember, customers usually leave reviews when they had an incredible customer service experience. Do your best to keep your customers happy. You need to give the customer an unforgettable customer experience in order to get positive reviews.

How does social media help attract customers? It's simple. Customers want to go to sites where they will get an honest opinion about a certain product or service. There is no place that a social media forum, where customers can communicate with each other in order to share their thoughts and experiences. Check your social accounts regularly so that you can answer any questions that your customers have. Ignoring their concerns or responding to a negative comment in a hastily manner will only create problems for your online reputation.

Last but definitely not least, we reach blogging. Blogging helps customers gain a perspective of who you are as a person. Share your thoughts with passion and connect with your customers on a different level. Show them that you do not only care about the sales of your product, but what thoughts they have about different topics. It is important that you show a different side of yourself rather than just a business side.

All these tips on how to build your online reputation are very important. You can not expect to gain a positive online reputation without putting in the time and effort. Your customers have a big impact on your online reputation, take all the right precautions in order to make sure you are making it a successful one.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Leave Rivals in the Dust With Online Reputation Management

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Companies that take themselves seriously and really care what the customer says are going to go out of their way to make sure their reputation is spotless. You will be surprised how much of a difference a clean online reputation can make in terms of your numbers moving up. Even if it is a couple of percentage points, it is an improvement from where you were an hour, day or month ago-- all business should be striving for this.

Your online reputation is more important than you might think it is. Just because you have customers and your profit is steady does not mean you should rest on your laurels. As a business owner, you should be coming up with ways to improve your positioning. Contrary to popular belief, it is not too hard to come up with new ideas. Great ideas are often times sitting right in front of you, but you have to make the choice to go out looking for it.

If you look at your business from a customer’s perspective, you will be able to nitpick and see what changes should be made. Now you know why your profits have been steady rather than improving and now you can work on those changes. If your profits have been steady, than changing your company a bit will only move you up and into a leadership position among your peers. You will get first dibs when it comes to customers and partnerships with businesses around the world.

Unlike your peers, you are not satisfied with average returns. If you are putting everything into your company, you should be getting more than average results. Online reputation management can help you in several ways. Perhaps you do have a clean reputation, but you're lacking a presence on social media. A company like Centel Media™  can help you with your presence on social media. Having a presence on social media can expand your horizons and connect you with a bigger audience of customers that you did not have before.

Maybe your webpage needs an overhaul. It has become a little too hard to navigate and is not too appealing to the eye anymore. No need to look any further than Centel Media™ . That's right; the same company that got you exposure on social media can help fix your webpage. Your reputation is in check, so there is no need to bother with that. However, if it wasn't, you know who to go to. As you can see, these are minor changes. There are no mass layoffs or press conferences to announce an M&A.

Changes that occur from within will boost your image and leave your rivals in the dust. Smart business owners are constantly aware of how their reputation looks.

The Beauty of Having Options

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Having options give us the ability to choose what we want to associate ourselves with and give our business to. We have the ability to choose from a variety of options that offer the best product or company that best fits our needs and preferences. Businesses have many options too, though they may not exercise them as much as consumers they do have options on how they choose to operate their businesses, the location and many other choices to choose from.

When we are presented with a list to choose from we are given the option to choose a business or brand that has the best product, customer services and presents themselves in the best way possible. It is in the best interest for a business to put a lot of emphasis on all three of those criteria, but the last one could be a deal breaker for most customers, so you must make sure that your image and reputation is respectable.

There are millions of businesses out there that all compete for the service of customers. They are all trying to stand out and prove why they are the best option for us to choose. Having options can get confusing if you are bombarded with them all at once, which is why you should take your time when looking them over. Consider the pros and the cons. There is no right or wrong answer, but the decision you make can have an impact for many years to come. It is in your best interest to pick the business with whom you can maintain long term stability with.

Businesses have to be a little less picky when it comes to options. As I stated earlier, in terms of operations and locations they are flexible, but when it comes to other things like profit, customer service and overall image, businesses have one option and that is to be professional. Businesses are the options. Rather than having an option to choose, they are the ones being chosen. 

With this in mind, the pressure is on businesses to make sure they stand out from the pack. However, in order to really stand out, they have to offer something that others don't. Maybe they do offer it, but just not in a way that you do. To me, that is standing out. You all offer the same service, but there is one little thing that separates you from the pack and makes you the best option for a customer to give their business to.

Options give us the freedom to choose what we want. It also keeps businesses competitive so the best product and service rises to the top.

Bigger Than Your Reputation

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Your online reputation goes everywhere with you. It doesn't take a rest. Even when you are asleep, it is awake protecting your business, but still vulnerable to any negative attack. Your reputation doesn't just live at home, it travels all over. Even though you are doing work in one specific country, your reputation could be thousands of miles away and you don't even know it.

Globalization has brought the world together and has allowed many people in other countries to make a living, but unfortunately, many people have lost their jobs due to globalization, so it is a double edged sword. Big businesses have used globalization to get work done faster and more effectively, but that doesn't come without its own troubles such as unfair labor practices, low wages and other inhumane actions that have taken place over the years.

As consumers we really don't think about what the process is to get the clothes and shoes we're only interested if they have our size and color we want. If you think that is harsh, imagine the reputation some of these companies that have businesses overseas who make clothes. A lot can be said about a person who knows that they are treating people unfairly but still continues to do business in the same way. The reputation that these companies have is being attacked on a daily basis, mostly negative, but they somehow manage to do business and make profit.

Most companies are aware of what is being said about them online, both domestically as well as internationally, but they refuse to let that interfere with the business. Many of these same businesses have been boycotted or has had rallies and marches in front of their headquarters. So, if people have taken action and it is known by those in charge that they participate in these practices, why hasn't it stopped?   

These businesses have become too successful to fail. Their presence in the business world has become bigger than their reputations, and it shows. As I pointed out earlier, consumers are not too concerned with how the clothes are made. If you were to go online and look at the reviews, you wouldn't find one about labor practices. Instead, you would see most reviews about the quality of clothing and the speed of shipping. For the past couple of years, businesses have begun providing better services and making an attempt to improve their reputations. It is a slow process that won't happen overnight, but if they continue to work at it on a daily basis, it will improve.

Your presence can be bigger than everything else, including your reputation. You shouldn't rest if you have a negative reputation though, because that can quickly catch up.