It can take years of hard work and concentrated effort to establish yourself as a credible and knowledgeable person in business, one that your customers come to love and trust. However, thanks to technology and social media, it’s now easier than ever to damage your reputation and put your credibility at risk, simply by opening your mouth.
Refraining From Taboo Topics
Yes if you haven’t guessed already I am referring to business owners engaging in conversations on specific topics. Topics I refer to as taboo topics. Sex, Politics, and Religion are the three main ones I think of, but I am sure others can be classified taboo as well. Now I certainly am not against having discussions on these topics, but I do believe there is a time and a place to do so.
When I owned a retail store, I established company policy never to engage in those topics while at work, either with fellow employees or with customers. I didn’t care what they talked about at home, but I would not allow that type of conversation to happen at work. If a customer started complaining or arguing about politics in the store, they were asked to take the discussion outside.
Customers Don’t Want to See Your Dirty Laundry
During this recent presidential election, I was absolutely shocked and appalled at the number of local business owners I observed on Facebook sharing negative and hurtful comments, getting into arguments, and throwing tantrums because they didn’t agree with the views and opinions expressed by other people. STUPID!
Yes everybody has a right to express their views and opinions, but who on Facebook might be observing you and your comments, especially from behind the scenes? CUSTOMERS! Not just random people in the sea of Facebook, but your current and future Customers! Customers who may want to buy your products and services! Customers who support your livelihood! Do you really think displaying your skills of arguing and belittling others because of their views will impress your current and potential customers?
Remember Your’re the Face of your Business
Perhaps you think it’s ok to make these comments because you’re making from your personal page instead of your official Facebook Business page. Because we tend to do business with people we Know, Like, and Trust, it is YOU the individual that we view as your business. We don’t usually separate the two, especially if you’re a service based business.
Imagine you were ready to do business with the owner who proudly shared a picture of his voting ballot for the world to see, and arrogantly dared people to argue with him. Or the business owner who seemed to find pleasure with how many people were unfriending him because of his views. “Good riddance to them all” he said with a smirk. Really?
People will Forget the Election, but will They Forget You?
I really enjoy networking and having the ability to refer a lot of business to people in our local community. However, I am now finding it difficult to make some referrals to individuals I observed on Facebook. Not because of their candidate choice or views, but for the way they conducted themselves and the behavior they displayed.
I think there is a time and a place for everything, and I believe people should share their thoughts and opinions. However, I think it is short sided and careless to do so in front of current or potential customers. Why put yourself at risk and undermine all of the efforts you worked so hard to achieve?
The election is over and will once again be forgotten, but will your customers forget about you? Who knows, maybe or maybe not? Your future sales will be the judge of that.