The Power of Reputation: What It Means To Your Store

Beyond your existing customers lies a very powerful crowd of potential customers. These are the folks that share the aisles with you at your local grocery store and the friends and neighbors of every customer you already have. These customers – despite having never even stepped into your store – either have already decided they will shop your store one day or have checked you off their wish list of stores to shop.

Reputation is a powerful thing, and when it comes to customer retention it just may be the most powerful tool of all. Your current customers deserve not only to be treated like royalty because you want them to return to your store, but they are also your loudest billboards within your local community. Treat your customers better than anyone else, and soon your door will need new hinges. Remember – new or potential customers walk through your doors because they have an impression of what they will expect. Don’t let them down.

Here are three tips to keep your reputation in tip-top shape.

1. Provide customer comment cards for your customers to fill out. Not only will this give a frustrated customer an outlet to express their concerns or disappointments, it’s also a great way to collect positive experiences from customers. Ultimately, however, it will allow you to gain a true understanding of what your reputation really is among customers. Pay special attention to repetitive comments.

2. Ask your friends and family what they have heard about “you” and your store. Rumors spread, gossip travels and opinions travel fast. There’s no shortage of opinions out there… the question is, what is the opinion of you and your store? Ask friends and family to be blunt and honest with you in regards to what they have been told about you and your store. No sugar-coating necessary. Tell them you want the whole truth, nothing but the truth.

3. React professionally to the reputation you have… or are building. Know for your customer care? Great! Know for your lack of it? Not so good. Man (or woman) up to the situation you have identified, then work to resolve it or strengthen it. Even the best of reputations need some TLC to stay even-headed and hard working.

At the end of the day, an indie business is only as good as the reputation it has. What is yours? No really… what is it? Seek honest answers and look through the identity you have created for yourself. You just may be surprised what you find (for the good or the bad!).

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