You may have seen on social media that, along with my co-author Peter Roper, I published a new book The Reputation Gap in mid-May.  The question I keep being asked is ‘What is a reputation gap?’

It’s the difference between 4 stars and 5 stars.

It’s about customer relationships.

It’s what makes your customer remember you and want more of what you offer.

It’s when customers don’t just like you – they become advocates.

It’s not so much about bridging the gap, it’s more about growing to fill the gap.

So what adds that extra polish to your reputation?

Authenticity: Your business has clear values that everyone who represents it shares.  It doesn’t matter how big your business grows, it represents the founder’s values and that needs to be front and centre.

Congruency: Everything you do is in line with your values.  As soon as you compromise those, customers get an uncomfortable feeling and that’s the point at which they jump ship.

Attention to detail: From the colours of your logo to the way you (and your team) answer the phone, there is a plan with a clear process and systems in place to make consistent delivery simple, reliable and consistent.

Communication: Great reputations are almost always based on excellent communication.  The customer knows what to expect, how it will be delivered (whether it’s a product or a service), how to get help if they need it and your systems include follow up to ensure the customer is happy.  I don’t mean an email asking for a 5 star rating, but a phone call or face-to-face meeting where you can have a conversation and hear any hesitation or doubt in their voice.

And that’s where the gap is – between a transaction and a relationship.

More profitable business

If you close the gap and make business personal, you’ll find you get better customers who stay longer, spend more and talk about you to others a lot.

Even larger organisations can create this kind of personal relationship with their customers with the right customer service teams in place.  It’s even more important when you’re a small business or independent consultant.

As it’s been said many times “It’s easier to keep an existing customer than to recruit a new one,” so nurturing your customers is important.

What one thing could you do that would add that extra star to your reputation?

Get your copy of The Reputation Gap.