While you will spend a huge portion of your time thinking about your business, most of this will be spent looking for ways to improve things like productivity or income levels. A lot of small companies owners have no idea of how the world sees them from the outside, having focused internally for far too long, and this will often start to show its impact after a short while. Avoiding the issues which can come with a poor public image is essential in the modern world, and this post is here to help you out with it.
Using Social Media
Since the dawn of the internet, a lot of different tools have emerged which have changed the way the world works. Social media is a great example of this, with websites like Facebook seemingly captivating the entire world. Of course, though, a lot of businesses miss a trick with this sort of resource, only using it for their marketing. When you make posts, though, you will get a lot of different metrics to look at. Most of these will be designed to help you to improve your reach, but the likes you receive can be used to get an idea of whether or not people are taking your content well.
Along with using the posts you make, you can also look to other people’s work on these platforms to figure out how popular your company is. Most social sites have tagging systems in place, nowadays. This gives you the chance to search for different words and phrases which relate to your business, looking for posts which people may have made in reference to you. If there are any negative posts out there, it could be worth talking to the person who has had issues. This sort of thing can often be easily resolved, but people won’t come to you to make it happen.
Pushing for Reviews
Since the introduction of Yelp to the world, a lot more people have been relying on reviews to tell them way to buy, where to go, and how to handle the smallest tasks in their lives. When you’re a business, though, you can use these resources to promote your business and gain an understanding of how people like your work. By pushing for reviews from customers, you will get a surprising amount come through. Once you start something like this, it will be worth keeping on top of it, as it can look bad when you have a series of bad reviews which don’t have comments or resolutions on them.
Look for a PR Company
PR companies have long been a big part of big business. Professionals working in this field dedicate themselves to learning how to keep the public happy, while also having loads of experience when it comes to solving problems with reputation. They will be able to give you advice which improves your chances of success when it comes to marketing your brand without upsetting people, along with spending time assessing the work which you already do to make sure that it isn’t a ticking time bomb waiting to make customers feel bad.
Hire a Mystery Shopper
Not a lot of people realise that you can hire someone to pretend to visit their business. Posing as a customer, this sort of professional can give your employees a very good test, offering a score on the other side which will show you how good the experience was. While this sort of method is very old, it has been proven to show success, as long as no one on the ground knows that it will be happening. Of course, though, you could achieve this without hiring anyone, handling the job with a friend or two.
Getting Specific Feedback
In some cases, it won’t be the whole business which you’re worried about when it comes to public image. Instead, a product release or planned change in your policies could be concerning you, and this means looking for some feedback which is more specific. Gathering feedback can be done with online forms. To give you an idea of what they can be applied to, you can find some examples below.
- Customer Support Experiences: When a customer gets in contact with you, they will have a very strong idea of what they expect to experience. If you’re falling short in this area, customers will quickly become rarer and rarer, but it can be hard to figure out why. By giving people the chance to share their thoughts using a tool for collecting customer feedback, you can start to build a very clear picture of what they think of the time they spend talking to you.
- Website Usability: Using a website which doesn’t feel like it is fit for purpose can be very frustrating, especially when you’re first getting started. When you’ve been using your own website a lot, though, it can be hard to tell how easy other people will find it, and this is something which a lot of companies struggle with. Most customers will be happy to fill out a feedback form after spending a few minutes on the site. Of course, though, you can’t bombard them with messages like this.
- Email Polls/Surveys: As specific changes are being made to your company, you have a great chance to get customers involved with the decision making process. For example, if you run a food business, and you have to choose between smaller portions or higher prices, you could send out an email asking people what they would prefer to find. You have to take this sort of feedback with a pinch of salt, though, as some people will give responses without properly thinking about all.
With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to take the time to measure your company’s public image. A lot of people struggle with this sort of work, finding it hard to know what customers feel about them. Of course, though, as time goes on, this should only get easier and easier.