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Are you willing to risk your reputation on your team’s lack of brand awareness?

You’ve built your business and your reputation on providing a high quality service, creating innovative products and a strong sense of value for your customers. The result is they repay you by telling everyone how great you are which in turn helps you increase your customer base and generate additional revenue.

You’ve worked hard to get to this position and you want to stay there. However, one member of your team has had a bad week and is not feeling particularly friendly or they decide to take their personal views out on one of your customers! The result is your customer tells everyone via social media and every other public channel they have access to, it’s picked up by the media who cast aspersions on the bad business you are running and your reputation takes a nose dive!

Whilst that may seem like an extreme scenario, it does happen. Good news…and bad travels fast in this social media age and whilst you can’t necessarily protect your reputation from every issue that occurs there are a lot of things you can do to minimise the impact.

Taking the time to give your team brand training and creating a strong internal culture within your business will help them understand the impact of their words and actions not only on your business but also on their career.

Your brand is your whole business and every part of it will have an impact in one way or another on your customer. If some of your employees interact directly with your customers, to them, they are your brand! That impression needs to be of a high level at all times, regardless of whether or not they have had a bad day/week or they have personal views about particular people.

The example I am about to give is one I have told many times to emphasise the point. A few years ago I was in a position to be able to buy my first brand new car. I had always wanted a Mercedes C Class Coupe and so I headed off to one of the local showrooms very excited and hopeful of getting my new vehicle.

When I got there I had a quick look around the forecourt and then went inside where I was greeted by a young 20 something salesman who didn’t look as happy to see me as I was to see him. He asked me what car I was interested in and how much I was looking to pay each month. After this his interest seemed to wain and he was not very forthcoming in helping me understand what the process was or what options I had. Bearing in mind I was looking to buy a car from what I felt was a prestige brand it ended up being a very disappointing experience and I left without purchasing the car.

A few days later, I went to the local BMW showroom and had a completely different experience. The salesman was friendly, helpful, explained everything that I could do to customise the car, worked out a great finance package and guess what? He got the sale!

Here are two brands that class themselves on selling high quality products and delivering first class customer service, but I had two completely different experiences. It doesn’t take much to make a customer unhappy and case in point as I mentioned, I have told this story many, many times. I’m not saying that all Mercedes showrooms are the same, but how many sales are they willing to lose because of one (or more) salesman not doing justice to the brand and experience they have spent so much time and money creating.

It was only a few weeks ago that a London restaurant was vilified on social media and in the press for one of their employees writing a racial comment on a customer's receipt. These stories whilst they may become chip paper the next day are not necessarily forgotten and can have a lasting effect on reputation and sales.

Your customers shouldn't have to work hard to get the information or service they came in for and they shouldn't be made to feel bad, guilty or upset (unless they have purposely done something wrong themselves) by your sales team. They want a friendly service that is easy to use and makes them feel comfortable with the decision or purchase they are making.

Manage your reputation effectively by getting your team on board and ensuring they are given the vital training they need to understand how to protect your business, your reputation and your brand.

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