A lot of thought and content goes into analyzing what customers want. Technology companies and business management scholars have dedicated countless hours to customer management, client relationship management, customer expectations, and the like. University courses are dedicated to this subject. The horrifying truth is that it’s all pretty simple. Customers want the best quality delivered yesterday for free. Obviously and unless you’ve got close ties with the occult, that’s not likely to happen. Your clients aren’t stupid; they know they’ll have to pay and that the goods and/or services purchased will take time. When expectations and delivery don’t meet, frustration arises.

The ultimate goal of business is to make money. Everything else supports that goal. Lucky for customers, good customer service also supports that goal because every business relies upon satisfied customers. In fact, Fonolo.com states “nearly 95 percent of leaders say that providing customer experience is a top strategic priority, and 75% want to use customer experience as a competitive advantage.”

Every business must figure out how to set its prices, which can then be adjusted as circumstances change. Your customers don’t care how you set your prices or what variables–like labor, material and overhead costs–factor into those calculations. They want to be convinced they receive good value for their money. You must justify their cost with your reputation.

The variables that go into developing a reputation include:
● Response time
● Personalized service
● Problem solving
● Reliability
● Quality
● Ease of doing business

Your customers likely won’t put pencil to paper and perform comparison analysis of value between competitors. Each customer has his or her own overarching priority. For some, it’s price. They’ll sacrifice the rest of the qualities in order to get the best price. For others, it’s quality–nothing else matters more. Most customers understand that they must balance price and quality. You get what you pay for isn’t a truism for nothing.

With the growing dominance of internet marketing and internet-based business, a company’s online reputation forms a critical piece of the branding puzzle. Negative rankings cost money in lost business. A Google search on online reputation management will yield myriad consultants all eager to polish your company’s reputation. One insight regarding online reputation comes from Forbes magazine: a company’s face–usually its CEO–assumes intimate association with the company. In other words, if the CEO has a negative online reputation, chances are the company’s reputation will also suffer.

Inc. magazine offers yet another interesting insight into reputation management: “Interestingly, the foundation for understanding reputation is decidedly old-school. What used to be called “word-of-mouth” is now global, with online review sites, blogs, and social media making it easier for customers to learn about brands and what other users think about them.” The worst thing about reputation management is that a business can’t stop people from posting negative reviews. The great thing about reputation management is that a business can address a complaint in public and reap the benefits of having attended to and resolved a customer’s problem.

A stellar reputation can justify higher fees. Customers know what they want; however, when faced with an abundance of options, their business may very likely go to the company that shows the highest approval ratings. Authors know this. Reader reviews bolster or damn book sales. Restaurants and hotels know this: check review sites like Yelp, as well as blogs by informed critics and ordinary people.

Positive reviews foster trust. It’s up to you and your staff not to break that trust. The Heggen Group can help your company establish processes that streamline keeping your clients’ trust by ensuring predictable, high quality outcomes.