REPUTATION…..hard to make, easy to break
When you set up your own company, you have a kind of frenetic enthusiasm – and if it is your first business and you are young, you might have a lot of experience in the business, but lack the “paranoia” of a suspicious businessman.  Someone who has faced ‘crooked’ situations and spent lots of money on lawyers to extricate themselves. Thus, you might start with a good name, but end up being affected by companies that you decide to work with – expecting their good will, only to find they will not keep their obligations.

There are a number of levels at which “trust” operates, ranging from basic familiarity all the way up through complete confidence.  However, trust implies a willingness to expose one’s vulnerability to another in the confidence that it will not be exploited or abused, and that one’s own interests will be respected. Customers will only remain loyal to companies they trust. And our role here is to convince our clients that the suppliers we represent are trustworthy. But what happens, when they prove wrong and we – as front end – have to handle clients ‘failed expectations’ with a supplier that is in trouble?  I think there are 2 components required of a company before a client is likely to trust – competence and intent. ‘Can they do it?’ and ‘Is their intent based in good will or not?’

Reputation has a major impact on the performance of companies. Recent research shows that reputation makes a huge difference for B2B companies in the following areas; Demand creation, Lead generation and Overall revenue growth. Of course, you can’t measure reputation level, you can’t spend x% of your budget to double it and it is very hard to build a good reputation in the market – however, it is so fragile and easy to break. There are many examples of businesses that have closed just because their reputation has been sullied, and not always of their own making. A reputation can be killed by word of mouth, and is often used as a negotiating strategy (when you have to recover a debt – pressing the button of threat to affect the others’ reputation might have a bigger impact than sending him a legal notice).

Here in ARLL though, we prefer more diplomatic approaches.  We understand these are tough economic times, but still we must keep our word – so we focus more on solutions than on reasons of why a situation has happened, who is to blame and who needs to pay. All these goes together with grey hairs to the so called – EXPERIENCED ages.

I found over Amazon a book called Trust and reputation for service-oriented environments: By Elizabeth Chang, Tharam S. Dillon, Tharam Dillon, Farookh K. Hussain, I will buy it and after I have digested, I will make a resume for those interested.