5 WAYS TO ARREST THE FREEFALLING CREDIBILITY OF YOUR SMALL BUSINESS
If your business isn’t performing as per your expectations, you must be doing something wrong. Your small business’s credibility must be taking a beating on the market, resulting in its non-performance. Plummeting brand credibility is the single most important factor for loss of revenues, so it makes perfect business sense that your prime focus should be on improving the credibility of your small business. Let’s take a closer look at everything that you can do and must do to improve business credibility.
FIND OUT WHERE YOU HAVE GONE WRONG
There must be some reason why your business’s credibility has gone down. Is the reason the lack of quality products or services, or unsatisfactory customer services, or is it that you are simply not doing enough to showcase your brand’s credibility to your target customers? Whatever the reason behind this lack of credibility, you can only improve it, if you know the reasons for this lack of trust. So, first up, conduct an honest evaluation of your products and services and your customer interfacing activities as well as the employees in charge of these activities. Be honest with yourself about your business’s shortcomings to identify them.
START RIGHTING THE WRONGS
If you have come across something that is really self-evident as a reason for affecting the credibility of your company, for e.g. a fault in the products you are selling, or a lack of training of your customer support staff, you must immediately set in motion a series of corrective measures. If you think something is wrong, get started on righting that wrong. If you are manufacturing the products in-house, there might be something wrong with the production process; in the case of an untrained customer support staff, you need to initiate a process of learning and development that will help you handle customer complaints better.
PROMOTE BUSINESS CREDIBILITY
Correcting the wrongs is just the first stage of the long drawn out process of improving business credibility. You must also put in place a proactive program for single-mindedly promoting the credibility of your business and the quality of its products and services. Begin by identifying the various ways and means that will help tell your target customers your business can be trusted.
One of the better ways of doing this is by contributing well written pieces to some of better online sources in your niche, like high authority blogs. These blogs are accessed by people looking for a solution for a particular problem or by those who want to make an informed decision about a product purchase. By having your content on such sites, you will come across as an expert in your niche, and will earn credibility amongst your readers. This credibility will rub off on your small business as well.
Something else you could do is join the various discussion forums which your target customers frequent. Answering their questions and solving their problems is one of the better ways of earning credibility. Another great way of promoting business credibility is participating in or hosting meet-ups or conferences. You could even think about being a guest speaker at such events. Remember, nothing boosts the credibility of a business better than knowing that a particular person representing the business is an expert in the niche.
Keep track of everything that is being mentioned about your business. Monitor brand mentions, social media conversations amongst your business’s fans and followers, reviews etc, and collate in a spreadsheet that you can analyse. Sometime, brand credibility is affected because the negatives things said about a business are easily found, while the positive mentions are below the target customer’s radar. Your job will be to manage the reputation of your business by making sure that the negative words are buried under an avalanche of positive words about your business. If you don’t think you can do this on your own, hire a company specializing in reputation management to do your job for you. If your business is primarily an online entity, than online reputation management is enough, but if you have an active physical presence on the ground, as well as an online presence, its mission critical that you are able to manage the reputation of both your offline and online presence equally well.
IT’S AN ONGOING PROCESS
Credibility is a fickle thing. If you don’t make an effort to build and sustain it, you lose it quickly. So, it’s important that you institutionalize the process of boosting credibility and make it a mission critical task. Form a core team whose task is to improve business credibility. Make sure that the people in charge have brand building experience and who specialize in the various methods used to improve the credibility of a brand. You just can’t take chances with brand credibility.
Credibility is ambiguous and fluid, and therein is the challenge. This is why, it’s difficult to take control of it, manage it and improve it. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. If you want to improve your business’s sales figures, it must meet the industry benchmarks of credibility. There is no getting round this fact.