You already know that your business’ opt-in e-mail list is an excellent tool for marketing your business. Did you know that it can help you maintain your reputation, too?
Your e-mail list can serve your reputation because it’s a method for communicating directly with your customers, which means it can be transformed into a relationship-building and customer-service tool, and not just a platform for blasting 20% off coupons.
1. Give your customers a heads-up about important issues.
You’re planning to re-finish the floors at your retail store. You know that this is going to come with a strong, unpleasant chemical odor for about a day.
You have two choices.
You can just let customers walk in and get a headache from the fumes, then say, “Yeah sorry, I had the floors redone,” when they get there. Obviously this is risky, because some customers will feel upset and put out. At best, some never come back. At worst, they run off and write a bad review.
Instead, you can choose to put out two e-mails: one about three days before the floor service is scheduled to happen and one directly after the floor service. The first e-mail tells customers the floor people are coming. The second e-mail lets them know they’ve been there. Both e-mails stress the benefits of the floor service, of course.
Choosing to send an e-mail gives customers a choice. They can decide to come and visit your store on another day. If they do visit your store, they know what to expect, and they don’t blame you for the experience.
You should do this each and every time there is going to be any kind of inconvenience, change, or delay that might impact the customer experience.
2. Tell customers when you’ve fixed something.
As you gather comments and reviews you might well discover a reoccurring issue in your organization.
If three people are talking about it, 300 people are probably thinking about it. So you want everyone to know the moment you resolve the problem.
You can discuss exactly what you did to address that specific issue and what you feel will be different moving forward. This will build trust, and it will show people that you are someone who takes customer service very, very seriously.
3. Share blog posts and resources.
Customers are far less likely to write a bad review about a business with whom they share a relationship. You can’t build a relationship if it’s sell, sell, sell all the time.
This is where reputation management intersects with marketing. A regular supply of free information which solves customer problems or helps them do something better creates positive associations between you and that customer.
If you combine your content marketing with the other two types of communications you really start to become a trusted partner in the life of your customer. You aren’t just another company. That’s good, because most people think most companies are just a half-step away from screwing them over at any given time. It’s little wonder that so many customers are quick to deliver a scathing online review the moment something goes wrong.
They don’t do that to partners, though. They become brand ambassadors for their partners. They actually work hard to promote your good name. That kind of organic, positive press is absolutely invaluable, and it will enhance your online reputation as nothing else possibly could.