This photo (and quote from The Petit Prince) neatly sums up what makes some businesses and brands truly stand out, in terms of their reputation.
Not everything comes down to numbers or metrics. Some of the most important results you create may well be impossible to measure in the a conventional business standards.
Reputation is one of the most vital assets in business, and is very difficult to quantify on a balance sheet.
There are legal and ethical standards you’ll be operating to. These form the basic foundation as far as reputation building goes.
Just doing these parts well will mean you have a business that is respected – but most customers will expect you to be sticking to the right side of the law so you won’t be winning many extra brownie points.
So what can you do to really stand out?
I don’t actually need to ask you this question. You probably already know the answer.
How do your customers feel when they set foot in your office, shop or land on your website?
Even more importantly, how do they feel after they have used your services or products?
I’d just like you to think about the last thing you recommended to a friend. What was it? a new cafe? a good hairdresser or a possibly even a lawyer.
Now think about what it was that made you recommend this to your friend.
Chances are that they took excellent care of you when you dealt with them (and they may also have truly great cake and coffee).
Valuing every single customer is mandatory
In The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuck, he argues that with the rise of social media we are seeing a return to business building values our grandparents would recognise.
As Gary points out, this boils down to, genuinely caring about the people you are doing business with and actively growing your relationship with them.
Even if you run a cafe that makes the best cake in the world. No-one is going to send their friends to you if you don’t make them feel welcome and take care of them while they are spending time with you.
How can you make this work – day to day?
In Gary Vaynerchuk’s company, they have a single overarching principle when it comes to customer service: “We talk to every single individual as though we’re going to be sitting next to that person at his or her mother’s house that night for dinner”.
Imagine what that means for the conversations you’re having when you’re talking to people on social media, byemail, on the phone and face to face.
Getting this right will mean that you’re growing relationships that feel great for everyone involved.
This is where brands and businesses can generate such strong bonds that their customers will go out and sell their products for them.
Your relationships are what your business reputation is built on. Its invisible, its action-focused and if you get it right, the ripples will spread far and wide.