Reputation, whether personal or business, is an intangible concept. Yet, it can have tangible consequences. On an individual level, it has the power to damage or strengthen relationships. In business, reputation can impact shareholder value, whether for better or for worse. With all this power, measuring and tracking reputation is an important key factor in enhancing it. So, how is it done?
Those companies interested in conducting reputation research most often turn to a reputation research survey or poll which tells them how much they are loved or admired vis-a-vis their competitors within the same industry. Most of the time this type of survey tool is conducted through online survey software. By utilizing survey software to conduct a reputation research, you will be able to see perception gaps between how you perceive your reputation and how others view you, your brand, or company.
But companies shouldn't just conduct reputation research to see how they are viewed by their target customers. They should also view how they are perceived by their competition. A classic example of this is the "Most Admired Corporations" as conducted by Fortune Magazine. What's unique about this survey is business people, which could be competitors and peers, cast their vote. Nine attributes are considered including financial soundness, innovation, social responsibility, people management, use of corporate assets, quality of management, long-term investment, quality of products and services, and global competitiveness.
So why is it so important to conduct a reputation research survey through online survey software? A 2011 Harvard Business School Working Paper revealed that simply boosting your Yelp score by one star can increase sales by up to nine percent. If a business gets enough negative customer reviews and ratings, it can definitely cause other customers to avoid patronizing your company, and negatively affect your bottom line.
In addition to conducting a reputation research survey regularly, it's a good idea to have someone dedicated to monitoring your reputation on the web. They should not only be reviewing social media, but also monitor sites, like Yelp, Trip Advisor, Angie's List, Planet Feedback, Open Table, Google Reviews, ComplaintsBoard, and RipOff Report, depending on the relevance to your company.
What's more, depending on the size of your company, you may want to check out Glassdoor and Jobitorial. Both of these sites provide a means for current and previous employees to write reviews about your company. Things like compensation, working conditions, management, benefits, and company culture are all fair game here. Because these reviews can potentially be detrimental to your company's reputation and sales, it's important to monitor whether your employees have an issue with your company that you may not know about.
Certainly, if you do take a look at any of these sites, and find information about your company that is disturbing or detrimental to your business success, it's imperative to conduct a reputation research survey to get to the bottom of the issues noted, whether they are from existing or past customers or current or previous employees.