“Reputation is a matter of perception. A company’s overall reputation is a function of its reputation among its various stakeholders (investors, customers, suppliers, employees, regulators, politicians, nongovernmental organizations, the communities in which the firm operates) in specific categories (product quality, corporate governance, employee relations, customer service, intellectual capital, financial performance, handling of environmental and social issues).” -Harvard Business Review
The amount of times I have heard “perception is reality” exceeds my finger inventory. And to be honest with you, the phrase didn’t really resonate until my name was listed on my LLC documents as an owner. I started to look at the business I was conducting with more care. I put my practices under a microscope if you will. The only thing you actually have when you start a business is reputation – because you sure as sh*t don’t have money. I started to look at my clients as something more. I started to look at them as family. When you think about it, that line of reasoning isn’t that far off. They helped me grow, they were “there” for me from the start, they trust me, I trust them, I have their best interest at heart – sounds like family, right?
This type of family is earned.
It’s earned by genuinely caring and consistently doing the right things. I can’t tell you how many times I have gone into the same local coffee shop after having met the owner numerous times and them FINALLY trusting me enough to take on their business. But what happens AFTER sets my company apart from the rest. What do I do? I come back. No, not for business. But to give THEM business. I meet with other clients at their business. I stop in for a cup of coffee. People don’t start to care until they see how much you care. It’s not what leads up to the “sale”, it’s what happens AFTER. Did you hold up your end of the bargain? It’s the client lunches you didn’t have to attend but wanted to – because it’s time well spent. It’s answering the emails in a timely fashion because you know they deserve, at the least, a quick response. It’s the answering of phone calls at 8am when they ask your expertise in an unrelated subject (true story) – it’s all of these things and more. It’s the personal investment of time. They invested in you, now you should invest in them.
“When your perception changes, your view changes and in turn, the way you are viewed changes.”
You can’t put a dollar amount on a good reputation; it can’t be bought, it is earned. Do the little things and go out of your way to show them that it wasn’t just a “sale” but a start of a relationship. Make the right choices and treat them as you would family. They will see you how they want to see you in the beginning and it’s your job to show them that you’re different.
PS- Energetek has 100% client retention rate – so listen to me.
Written by Kristin DeBias