Relationships and reputation have become even more important coming out of the pandemic. Your customer may be reevaluating their partners and looking back at the last year to see how your company weathered the storm, how you adapted, and what you are doing to prepare for the future. I have spoken about reputation before in business as well as leading during a crisis. The way you show up now is crucial to the success of your business.
Your business reputation consists of what others think and feel about your business, based on their experience with your business, what they’ve heard about it, and the facts they’ve gathered about it—true or not. In the last year, your customers have been living online watching the business world through an online perception. How have you managed to maintain your reputation through it all?
You may have been in business for years building up that reputation or just launched when COVID-19 hit, either way, how you handled yourself and your organization through the pandemic is what your partners will see.
New data reveals that “77 percent of consumers hold businesses more accountable than ever, as ‘trust’, ‘reputation’ and ‘conversation’ become almost as important as ‘price’ and ‘convenience’”. It highlights the growing importance for brands and retailers to create more personal and engaging relationships with their consumers.
As you re-enter into relationships with your partners, it is vital that there is mutual trust between both (all) parties to navigate fast-moving and uncertain situations. Communication and flexibility are key. Strong partners need to look at collaborating and make important decisions together even when they do not have all the information. By planning accordingly, and being vigilant about correcting mistakes along the way, they can create a successful partnership and get back to doing what they love.
There are at least 3 essential building blocks to maintaining strong, mutually beneficial relationships:
1. Transparency – be open and honest throughout the engagement
2. Collaboration – work together for a common goal
3. Accountability – live up to your agreements
None of the statements above are ground-breaking. But at challenging times, we may need a reminder. Right now, it’s even more important to be a genuine partner. Besides helping one another in the short term, such ethical business practices set us up for even closer and more productive relationships when the “uncertainty” comes to a couldn’t-be-soon-enough end.