Just One Person Can Destroy Your Brand Reputation
Here’s a scary story, about how just one person can destroy your hard-earned brand and company reputation.
My energy supplier sent an engineer to fit a new Smart Meter yesterday. “Not before time!” you might say, but in all fairness I’ve tried to avoid having anybody in our house during the pandemic in the name of mutual protection. However, I finally gave in to the energy supplier’s persistence. Ex-army, the engineer was friendly, highly skilled and took huge pride in what he did. Keen to be useful, his best advice was to keep the Smart Meter out of sight to stop us obsessing about over usage, thus preventing family arguments! Duly noted.
The Scary Bit
During our random ‘distanced’ conversations he told me about an engineer in their team who was being investigated for leaving a trail of sub-standard work. The company sent out an investigator to inspect his most recent installations. Seven out of eleven failed to meet safety standards. We’re talking about gas and electricity here. Sleep well.
My engineer explained that if it had been a case of helping the guy to brush up on his technical skills, then that would have been easy to understand and put right. However, the reality was that the ‘sub-standard’ engineer was just being plain lazy. His work had been fine when he’d been audited internally in regular assessments. “Unforgiveable!” my engineer protested. “What if there’d been a fire or an explosion?!”. It doesn’t bear thinking about.
Two Worlds Unite
That’s when his world sidled up with mine. I explained that I’d spent much of my career building, protecting and upholding brand reputations. I said that my perception of the company that he worked for - and that I was a customer of, was very positive. Why? Because their customer communication was good, the rates had always been favourable, and my only face-to-face experience of the company to date, i.e. with him, had been easy, hassle-free, and screamed ‘only the best will do because you matter, and I care’.
What Could Have Been
But what if I’d got Mr Sub-standard ‘I don’t give a monkey’s’ instead?! My perception would have been so different. All of the good trust that the company had built to keep me as a loyal customer would have gone in one interaction. I’d have voted with my feet and moved to a competitor. End of. After all, switching is so easy these days. I might have had a rant on social media too. Net result: a lost customer with a sizeable lifetime value and bad publicity to boot.
The moral of the story? It’s that a company’s reputation is only as strong as its weakest colleague, and if that person is customer-facing then there could be trouble ahead.
Are You Delivering?
Do you know what expectations you’ve promised to customers, and if your people are up to delivering them? If not, you’d better find out, before your customers tell you that you’re not up to it. Because that’s when they’ll take their business elsewhere and tell then world why they did so.
Your reputation is everything. Own it, guard it, and make sure that every single person in your company is living up to it.
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