When you tell someone your last name, they are often interested in the origin; Is it Polish? Russian? German? But beyond the origin of the name is what your name stands for. After all, in the business world, your name means more than just the words on a sign, a website or a business card.
In business, as in life, your name carries a reputation. For example, we often refer to other people based on their attributes. We might say that someone is very reserved, gregarious or perhaps well known for doing volunteer work or as a very hard worker. The same holds true with businesses such as Marriott or Hilton hotels. When someone is overseas and they see these familiar names they know there is a level of trust, familiarity and quality.
Such a reputation is extremely important to a small business. A large company, when faced with a scandal, a recall or bad press that might harm their reputation, can do damage control and repair their good name. For example, when JetBlue was getting bad press for long airport lines and late flights, they took action to repair their reputation. They succeeded, but it took time and cost them money that most small businesses don’t have.
Small businesses rely heavily on local word of mouth and sites like Angie’s list and online reviews. Today, more so than ever, your reputation can become widely known in a hurry, which can work for or against you. Either way, it usually precedes you. You’ve probably mentioned the name of a business to someone you know and they replied, “I’ve heard good things about them” or “I’ve heard some negative things.” That’s your reputation speaking.
How We’ve Built and Stood by Our Reputation
We are happy to say that most of our business comes via word of mouth, which means we’ve built a strong reputation. It means the name Kelemer Brothers says something to the people in our community. It tells them that we provide excellent service and products at fair prices.
Of course that didn’t just happen. We not only worked to make ourselves experts in our field, but we also took the time to find price points that were fair. Then, we made customer service a top priority.
The truth is, you can find good food, a comfortable hotel room or, in our case, quality window replacements in many places. But, which restaurant, hotel or windows replacement company will stand out? The one with the best reputation for making you, the customer, happy.
There are no tricks or shortcuts to building a good reputation. It takes honesty, doing what you say you will do (aka keeping promises) and following up to make sure your customers are satisfied. Follow-up is so important. I always ask myself; Did I send an e-mail? Did I make a phone call? Did I book the next time we were going to speak? Establishing relationships is great but it’s far more important that you sustain them through follow-ups. That’s a key to building a solid reputation and that is exactly what you want attached to your name.
There’s no better advertising, promotion or personal reward in business than having someone mention your name to a friend, neighbor, relative or colleague and having that person say, “I’ve heard great things about them.” That’s the best feeling because it means you’re reputation is working for you.