There has been a heightened need for corporate reputation management in recent years as consumer confidence in corporations hit record lows, and demands for corporate transparency hit all-time highs. According to a number of surveys, the number one concern for management in most companies is now reputational risk.
Why corporate reputation management is important
Not only is every single company and the way they’re seen by consumers at risk in some form or fashion, but the nature of information and the way it flows in the digital age means that all it takes is one ill-conceived social media post to trigger a social media crisis akin to those that affected brands like Burger King, HMV and DKNY.
In fact, so large is the scope for crises taking place on social media that an area of management similar to corporate reputation management, social media crisis management, has emerged to help companies prevent social media crises from occurring.
As we all know that the reputation of our companies is so crucially important, why is it that so many managers take a backseat approach to implementing corporate reputation management solutions?
Business reputations were important before the internet revolutionised the world, as was demonstrated by the need for effective telephone answering skills so as to convey a professional impression of a business entity to the caller, and it’s become even more important in the years since.
According to the most recent Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising study, more than 70 percent of global consumers surveyed said that they trust online reviews written by strangers when making purchasing decisions. And so crucially important have online reputations become that what people say about your company online is now the single biggest reflection of your company’s creditability and worthiness in the eyes of potential customers.
So what are the biggest benefits to companies that get corporate reputation management right? Along with building a ‘bank of goodwill’, something that goes a lot further than you may be aware, the following five benefits are among the best benefits associated with achieving corporate reputation management best practices.
- Achieving customer preference over other similar competing companies
- The ability of the company to charge a premium for its goods and services
- Greater stakeholder support for the company in times of emergencies
- The fiscal value of the company in the financial marketplace
- The effective mitigation of corporate risk in a wide range of areas
Many companies rightly see their reputation as their greatest asset, one that trumps all other assets, because although an intangible concept, a good reputation has been proven to increase corporate worth and provide companies with a sustained competitive advantage over their competitors offering similar products and services.
Corporate reputation management challenges
Whether you wish to look at the challenges that corporate reputation management presents through the eyes of a lawyer or a manager, there are numerous challenges that need to be addressed. The most notable challenges include the following five.
- Online environments and challenges to confidentiality
- Increased risk of defamation taking place online
- Consistency and ‘voice’ across social media platforms
- The increasingly complex nature of legal landscapes
- The constantly changing perceptions of online privacy
No company is immune to the challenges that corporate reputation management entails in the modern era, and whilst some of the abovementioned challenges may not affect you or your company, there are many others that weren’t listed that could.
Achieving corporate reputation management best practices
Once you understand the many online and offline challenges that your company faces with regard to corporate reputation management, you can then start looking at implementing the best practice solutions listed below. Bear in mind that these are examples and that there are many additional best practice solutions to implement.
- Keep constant tabs on your company’s online presence
- Encourage positive online reviews of your products and services
- Understand that offline reputations are just as important as online reputations
- Constantly interact with your customers using their preferred channels
- Ensure the constant provision of outstanding products and services
These best practice solutions can empower your company to increase consumer confidence in your organisation and its products and services with the aim of helping your company gain a distinct advantage over your immediate competitors offering similar products and services to those your company offers.
As you can see from the best practice points made above, whilst online reputations are so crucially important, which is why companies need to keep constant tabs on their online presence, this significant trend hasn’t detracted from the importance of sustaining an excellent offline reputation in any way.
In fact, offline reputations frequently spill over into online reputations, and vice versa, so ensuring an overall positive corporate reputation by constantly striving to provide products and services that meet, if not far exceed, the expectations of your existing customer base is crucially important to maintaining a healthy corporate reputation and mitigating risk.
You also have the option of working with a reputation management service provider, and there are many new service providers appearing all the time, but as numerous managers have realised, they generally aren’t worth the money involved unless a mess has been created that needs to be cleaned up. And you can avoid that from occurring in the first place by taking note of the corporate reputation management best practices listed above.
Additionally, paying attention to everyday interactions between your company and your customers is an excellent way to maintain a favourable reputation. Having your phone lines answered by an experienced, personable receptionist is an outstanding means of conveying a professional impression of your company to callers, and Netcall Solutions offers a broad range of professional telephone answering services that empower companies across the UK to put their best foot forward at all times.