Does Your Business Have a Good or Bad Reputation for Service?

"A business exists to create customers." - Peter F. Drucker

One of the very best ways to differentiate your business is by offering legendary service. While a reputation can be built, enhanced, and even achieved with sales and marketing, at some point your reputation is going to be put to the test.

You may be the fastest gun in the West on all the wanted posters, but when the other guy staring you down draws, that’s not going to count for much unless you really are fast. When you can back your reputation up with legendary service you immediately vault yourself to the top echelon of whatever industry you are in.

It’s a funny thing, but in all my years in the karate business—a business that is not noted for any of the values it espouses such as self-discipline, loyalty, and integrity—I have never met an instructor with a bad reputation. This is an interesting fact only because every instructor I meet can name several people just down the street who have terrible reputations. The instructor talking, of course, always has a good reputation—at least he thinks he does. But then again so do some of the instructors down the street! It’s pretty much the same when talking with mechanics, chiropractors, real estate agents—in fact, just about everyone.

So how are reputations, good or bad, formed in the minds of the public? How much of any person’s or company’s reputation is true and how much is hype? The fact is it really doesn’t matter because in the minds of the public, perception is reality. If we see someone stepping out of a limousine in front of a ritzy hotel, we automatically assume that the person is rich, successful, and perhaps even powerful or famous. If we see a company whose stock is rising, we assume it must be doing well; if it’s falling, we assume it must be doing poorly. If other people tell us a particular restaurant is good or bad, we are inclined to believe them. The fact that our taste may be totally different from theirs doesn’t really enter into it; a good reputation is good and a bad reputation is bad. Most people won’t take the time or effort to confirm either way; instead they will just accept things as they appear to be right up until something happens to change their minds to the contrary.

This is the point at which the hype, the posturing, the positioning, the marketing, the promotions, and the advertising must take a back seat to good old-fashioned service.

• Can you deliver the goods?
• Can you back up the position you claimed?
• Are you who we think you are?

There is already a buzz out there about your business; what is it saying…?

When it comes to customer service, customer perception is reality.

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