It’s a tough world for macro, micro and small businesses. In fact, 20% fail in the first two years, 45% in the first five and 65% in the first 10. Just 25% of new businesses surpass the 15-year mark.
These facts mean that you should take any opportunity to bolster your business’s reputation and to keep on the right side of your community. Read on for five unexpected situations that may damage the reputation of your small business and for some tips to prevent them from happening in the first place.
1. A Guest Spots a Pest
Unfortunately, we humans have a less-than-ideal view of critters and bugs, especially in a setting involving food or accommodations. Take preventative measures, and don’t let this possibility become a probability — instead, consult with a leading pest control company for proactive guidance.
Spotting a mouse in a hotel bedroom or a cockroach in a restaurant kitchen is sure to turn off even the most avid animal lover.
2. Less Than Adequate Customer Service
Your employees are the public face of your business. If your team is persistently grumpy or rude to customers, this unfriendliness will undoubtedly send guests to competitors where the reception is a little warmer. Further, unprofessional or rude service is often reported on social media.
To mitigate this risk, do the following:
- Implement clear codes of conduct and provide ongoing training.
- Address employee concerns and dissatisfaction promptly.
- Consider installing a comments box: it’s better that feedback is left privately versus on a public platform.
3. Poor Online Reviews
Negative reviews aren’t exclusively directed at team members. Lack of stock, long wait times, or inadequate opening hours are also cause for complaint, and negative reviews about these issues can cause substantial weight in today’s digital age.
Manage this risk by:
- Responding professionally and promptly to negative feedback.
- Encouraging satisfied customers to leave positive reviews.
4. Zero Consideration Towards Environmental Impact
In a world that’s leaning into sustainability and supporting eco-friendly practices, it would be remiss not to have your own green mandate. A lack of corporate social responsibility can tarnish your reputation.
To maintain a positive image:
- Adopt eco-friendly practices and promote sustainability where you can.
- Be transparent about your environmental initiatives and progress.
- Continue learning and seeking out opportunities for eco-growth.
5. Security Issues with Customer Data
A breach in any office can cause irreparable damage to a business’s reputation. Customers’ trust will be eroded, and you could face legal ramifications. Keep on the right side of legislation and your clients by imposing strict security measures.
These may include:
- The secure destruction of defunct data and expired paperwork.
- Virtual safety nets, including data encryption, antivirus software and robust passwords.
- Training team members on how to identify phishing scams or virus threats.
- Being transparent with customers in the event of a breach, providing timely updates and support.
Owning and running a small business is hard, and maintaining a fantastic reputation requires ongoing work.
By proactively addressing pest issues and employee challenges, monitoring online reviews, investing in cybersecurity and making a pledge to sustainability, you can safeguard and enhance your business’s reputation, ensuring its long-term success.
Remember that maintaining a positive reputation is an ongoing process, and proactive measures are the key to prosperity in today’s interconnected world.