Money For Lunch – Put Your Best Foot Forward: 10 Ways to Improve Your Company’s Public Face

Put Your Best Foot Forward: 10 Ways to Improve Your Company’s Public Face

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Your company’s true value may not be accurately reflected in its financial statements.

The Harvard Business Review makes a compelling case that the market consistently undervalues key measures of “digital strength.” This isn’t only an issue for software firms and other tech-oriented companies. It’s a systemic deficiency that penalizes companies skilled at digital marketing, outreach, and engagement.

Making targeted improvements to your company’s digital apparatus can help. So too can adjusting other customer-facing aspects of your operation. While it’s beyond the scope of this post to determine what, if any, bottom-line benefit you’ll see as a result of these improvements, there’s a strong case to be made that a sharper image is a more lucrative one.

When you’re ready to invest in your firm’s public face, try these 10 strategies on for size. 

  1. Flesh Out Those Directory Listings 

It’s one thing to have a bare-bones Better Business Bureau or Yelp listing that raises more questions than answers for your prospects. It’s quite another to have well-developed listings that tell prospects everything they need to know about your company and attract reviews in spades. Comprehensive local Yelp listings build on themselves, creating conversation and feedback that can dramatically improve your company’s market visibility and public image. 

  1. Don’t Hide Behind Contact Forms 

If you’ve taken care of your directory listings, this shouldn’t be an issue. If you haven’t, or you can make a compelling case that your company doesn’t need to be listed on Yelp or BBB to attract business, you need some other way to tell prospects and customers how to get in touch.

Don’t hide behind anonymous website contact forms — many people are reticent to use them, assuming (not without reason) that they’re only halfheartedly monitored. Include your company email address, phone number, Skype handle, and other contact data on your social media properties and company website. 

  1. Invest in Robust Live Support 

No matter how thinly stretched your staff is or how often customers try to get in touch, you need to make it clear that you’re open for business and happy to help. Pair an outsourced phone support operation — round the clock, if possible — with a live chat team available during extended business hours and a detailed knowledge base. The customer support desk for Talus Payments, for instance, posts the company’s main customer hotline and a slew of informative articles for customers seeking DIY help. 

  1. Use Consistent Visuals and Branding Across All Properties 

Part of putting your best foot forward is putting a consistent foot forward. Use the same portfolio of visual and multimedia elements across your entire web ecosystem: social media properties, business directories, websites, blogs, microsites (specific campaign objectives notwithstanding). You want visitors, including early-stage prospects who’ve encountered your brand only once or twice before, to immediately know what they’re looking at. 

  1. Speak With One Voice 

Consistency extends beyond the visual realm, of course. Establish and refine a unified voice for your copy. Again, deploy it across your entire web ecosystem: social media, website, blog, directories. Using the same language — down to specific phrases and trigger words — helps build customer trust and reinforces your organization’s credibility. Your products and solutions should do the bulk of the talking, but consistent messaging certainly increases the likelihood that they’ll have the chance. 

  1. Respond to Social Shout-Outs Around the Clock 

When it comes to managing your public face, there’s no such thing as an off day. Respond promptly to social mentions and direct messages, regardless of the time of day or day of the week. You won’t be able to resolve every customer’s issue to their satisfaction, but simply being available is good for public perceptions. 

  1. Address Issues Publicly and Privately 

When customers do come to you with questions and complaints, be sure to respond appropriately. Every public query deserves a perfunctory public response, regardless of the query’s nature or content. Since you don’t want to (and shouldn’t) hash out private disputes in full public view, you’ll need to take things offline as soon as you perform your public response. Private social media messages work well for straightforward matters; email-based ticketing is better for more complex issues. 

  1. Make Your Physical Locations Inviting 

If your company has physical storefront locations, or public offices at which you welcome clients and customers, make them as inviting as possible for new and returning customers. Multi-location stores and restaurants carry their own special branding considerations that go well beyond the scope of this discussion, but even single-site businesses — professional offices, workshops — can benefit from homey or idiosyncratic touches that speak to customers’ softer sides. 

  1. Streamline Your Online Ordering and Buying Processes 

This is a public-facing fix that also happens to be very good for your bottom line. Take a page out of Amazon’s one-click ordering suite and reduce friction around online sales. (If you sell physical products, you should use Fulfillment by Amazon anyway, but that’s another story.) You don’t want to pressure your customers into buying, of course, but you want to remove as many excuses not to as practically possible. 

  1. Simplify Pricing, Packages and Plans 

Speaking of sales simplicity: If your organization’s products and services revolve around packages or plans, take a hard look at their structure and look for ways to streamline them — perhaps by shrinking five plan options to three, or trimming superfluous inclusions that add marginal value (if any). Consciously or not, prospects and customers respond well to savvy pricing structures. 

Show Your Good Side 

These aren’t the only strategies you can and should use to shore up your company’s public image. In a hyper-competitive economic landscape, it’s up to you to take all reasonable steps to put your company’s best foot forward.

If you need additional ideas, join an executive peer group or retain a business coach. With their combined wisdom, or accumulated expertise, or both, you’ll have plenty of support as you tackle whatever challenges the future brings.



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