I’m late. I fact I’m quite late. And I’m late for a reason.
One of the cool things about my weekly email blast on Monday mornings is that I get people who ask me to help them with various things like websites, social media and other ways of getting their voicing out to the world. If you don’t get the Monday Morning Marketing emails you can and they’re free.
And they usually come out Monday mornings around eight or so. Every Monday. For the most part.
But I kept this one all to myself an extra day for a reason. You see I had someone ask me to help them getting their name out there. They were looking for more business. Aren’t we all? They were finding that business was dropping off rather appreciably and were looking to stem the tide.
Now what I don’t always tell people is that when they ask me to team up and help them grow their business, I check out how they’re doing thus far. It’s easy to find one’s reputation out there - all you have to do is look around a little.
In fact your customers are doing just that. If they’re thinking of working with you, whether you’re big or small, they’re asking their friends, looking at the various places where people can leave reviews and generally seeking out what the world thinks of how you do things before they do business with you.
It’s so prevalent that, when you ask your friends for recommendations on Facebook, it changes how the post looks to a “looking for recommendations” post.
It’s so much a part of how we do business now that all the various mapping programs now include reviews in the listings. So if you’re looking for paint stores in your area or want to hit the town or are looking for the place that’ll kill the most bugs in your house, Google and Apple maps both have reviews right there in the map listing.
Recently I did just this - looking for some stuff in a city far from home and I noticed that there were two providers about the same distance but one of those had less than a three star rating and the other approached a five star rating. This was an easy decision to make. I chose the lower-rated place because I just wanted to see what was wrong.
Any normal person is going to choose the higher-rated place to keeping on top of your reputation is critical.
In the case of the people who wanted to work with me I noticed not many reviews at all, but the ones that were there really weren’t exceptional. I asked to speak with some of their customers and, to a person, they all lead with a complaint. Delivery was terrible, invoicing was slow, and call backs were almost nonexistent.
We all make mistakes in things but when shipments get delayed or there’s an issue, it’s best to clue the customer in. Often times they won’t care. Or, if they do, then you can address that issue in a timely manner rather than having them wait, get frustrated, and tell other people who might be customers.
In today’s world there are too many competitors both in the neighborhood and on the Internet so the basic element of marketing has to start with being on top of how you deliver your product or service to the customer. Whether you’re a restaurant, accounting firm, or killer of bugs, dependability is the most important first step. Yes, we all fail now and then. But it’s best if that’s occasional rather than something everybody knows.
What are your customers saying? And, perhaps business is off not because of the messaging you’re using, but because of what is being shared by the customers you do have.