Who of your stakeholders are more important? Some people may argue that it is a company's shareholders or investors; others may suggest employees and customers.

Even though a company needs to foster and build a relationship with all their stakeholders, the err is on the side of the latter. Customers and employees are possibly the two most important stakeholders for the longevity of any organisation.

When it comes to an unsatisfied customer, consider these guidelines:

1. Implement a communication policy

First and foremost, make sure that you have at minimum a communication policy in place. This will guide you and your team with the procedures to follow when engaging with different stakeholders. Messages to share, channels to use and turnaround times should all be included in the document.

2. Convey consistency 

When it comes to reputation management, consistency builds reputations. You are either consistently good, which builds a good reputation; but you can also be consistently bad or consistently inconsistent — both of which contribute to a negative reputation.

Having policies and procedures documented will help your team to know how to consistently deliver products and services within set parameters. As part of consistency, your messages that you share needs to be aligned between everyone who will be communicating with your customers. 

3. Show care 

Show empathy and that you actually care about your customer. For example, had I received a call from the business to let me know that they did not have stock of the flowers that I had ordered, I would have gladly discussed alternative options. 

Don't blame COVID-19 for poor service. COVID-19 is just highlighting the gaps in your processes, so use this lockdown to update all your policies and procedures.

4. Continuously improve

The only way to improve is to take feedback to heart and to actually listen and act on what your unhappiest customers have to say about your product or service. 

For more information, visit www.reputationmatters.co.za or contact [email protected]. You can also follow Reputation Matters on Facebook or Twitter.