Earlier this year, Forbes released its annual list of the world’s most reputable companies. The list saw BMW, Google and Daimler named as having the strongest and best reputations in the world.
To qualify for the list, companies must be achieving revenues of at least $6 billion in the US or $1 billion globally and obviously, be very well known. The 20 companies selected were then included in a three-month long survey to 61,000 consumers in 15 countries.
Consumers were asked to rate how much they trusted each company and how they felt about each company relating to four main areas of esteem, admire, trust and feeling.
According to Weber Shandwick’s research into what influences company reputation, what people say and online reviews were the biggest influential factors into what a consumer thinks about a company, here’s the full table below:
Company reputation matters because according to research, 83% of consumers said they would buy products from companies with top reputations whilst only 9% said they would buy from a company with a poor reputation.
So how does a company earn a top reputation? What can a company do to make sure they have a good reputation?
What a company needs for a good reputation
Have a good product or service
It sounds obvious, but actually having a good quality product or service is the best way to keep your customers happy and avoid negative reviews or comments. If you are getting customer feedback – listen to it and if necessary, make changes to your product or service accordingly.
Have a good customer service function
The customer must be at the centre of everything a company does – so if they’re talking to you or about you, listen. Nowadays, customers are taking to online review sites, forums and social media to air complaints and opinions.
It’s inherent that companies are listening to and responding to online comments about them. Not only does it solve the customer’s problem and stop them posting more criticising content; but it lets other consumers online see that you’re responding to and solving complaints.
If it is a complaint – ensure that you apologise first and foremost, and then take steps to solve whatever issue the customer is having and try and take it offline if you can. A comment on social media can quickly become a high ranking conversation if you continue to go back and forth publicly, so suggest to the consumer that you solve the complaint on a direct message or via email or phone.
Treat employees with respect
Bradley Honan, the CEO of KRC Research who conducted the research behind Weber Shandwick’s In Reputation We Trust report, said: “The way an employer treats its employees reveals the character of the company. If a company treats it employees badly, why trust it to treat its customers well? It is just good for business to be a good employer.”
Both past and present employees can have an impact on your business; there are often cases of disgruntled former employees posting negative content online and it can gain traction and become an issue for a company if potential customers see it.
Your employees can be your biggest advocate; they know your product or service inside out so if they’re talking positively about you, it carries more weight.
All too often, online reviews, forum comments and social media posts are seen as a marketing issue and left to them to solve, when in actual fact, most complaints online are a customer service issue and should be treated just as any other complaint would be.
Similarly, problems can arise with a company’s finances which can cause bad press for the company; this is a problem for the finance department to solve in partnership with the marketing team.
When all teams within a company are working together and communicating; the brand message and process of solving a customer or press issue is consistent and therefore much more effective.
What approach should my business take?
The first step to take is to actually see what people are saying about you online – you can gauge the volume of negative and positive content and start to make changes to your internal processes and online strategies as a result. Start by setting up Google Alerts for your company name and then look into brand monitoring software.
Review how your departments currently work together and take steps to improve communication and processes within your team. Not only will this improve how you react and respond to consumer comments, but it’ll help staff morale because everything will run much more smoothly.
If you’d like further advice on any of the points listed above, get in touch with me in complete confidence at email@example.com or on tel: +44 (0) 203 542 8689.