by Dave Donovan
When It Comes to Reputation, It’s All or Nothing
In the day to day operations of most businesses, reputation management might not always be a task that is located near the top of the to-do list, but if you want to start a business with the hopes that it is going to be successful, then it needs to be.
Part of the problem for the feeling of unimportance is that nobody really knows whose job it is to ensure the company’s reputation is as good as it can be. Is it the owner’s responsibility to make sure her business’s reputation is not being affected, or does the responsibility fall on the shoulders of the employees?
What about the company’s public relations group — isn’t it their job to make sure the company looks its best? For most companies, this information just is not outlined well enough.
Another part of the problem is that there is no tangible data that details just how important a business’s reputation might be. But smart business owners understand that just because you cannot place a number on reputation, does not mean that it lacks importance. In fact, most successful business owners will tell you that while there is no monetary value assigned to reputation, it is priceless — and it’s the responsibility of every single employee to make sure that the business’s reputation is excellent.
The Employee’s Role in Business Reputation
Employees stand on the front lines of a company’s reputation because it is they who have the closest contact with customers, vendors, and suppliers. A single employee who does not adhere to company policy, or who treats a customer negatively, or who makes inappropriate posts about the company on their personal blog or Facebook page can send the business’s reputation spiraling downward.
Because of this, employers need to understand the role their employees play in the foundation of their company’s reputation, and provide them with the tools, education, benefits, and respect that is required to minimize such risks.
The Owner’s Role in Business Reputation
In many cases, the reputation of a company can be confused with the reputation of the person who started the company, so it is in the owner’s best interest to make sure she does her job in keeping her company’s reputation intact. The late Steve Jobs was a prime example of this as the public would often view both the man and his company (Apple) as one in the same. Walt Disney and the company that bears his name is another example.
At the end of the day, the buck stops with the owner, so ultimately, it is that individual’s responsibility to make sure all of the employees on the payroll perform to expectations while providing exceptional customer service at all times.
In the example of The Walt Disney Company, the company expects every single employee to feel responsible for the quality of their products and services, and because of this expectation, the company is regularly rated at or near the top of most lists compiling the country’s “most reputable businesses.”