Business reputation begins with corporate strategy. Flickr image by Bearseye
Recently, I wrote on Free Malaysia Today, the following:
"Even among the Global 500, the companies without value statements are the ones which have perennial problems with their staff and/or the authorities and the public."
In that article I postulated that among these companies, those who don’t have a Values statement, actually have problems with the authorities and their employees.
This was based on news reports over the years. In fact the company I was specifically referring to was Walmart.
When I pointed this out to a LinkedIn group I belonged to, a member stated that Walmart was excellent in CSR.
"Walmart the biggest retailer in the world are demanding their supply chains to comply with the Wallmart Sustainability Charter and MUST be audited by Bureau Veritas independently."
My point in the article was that CSR doesn’t build your reputation as much as the Values a company lives by. I didn’t find their Values listed on their website, so I conclude they don’t have one.
A couple of days ago, I came across this Yahoo Shopping article that shines the spotlight on some big retailers with the worst customer service…
"Another employer that has had trouble keeping employees happy is Walmart. And this, too, is reflected in its poor customer service rating. In fact, Walmart has been one of lowest rated retailers since 2005, according to Allen."
So, my initial postulate seems to be validated by an independent organisation. I believe that their woes are founded on their lack of values. If they have Values, it probably doesn’t include their employees.
Walmart’s strategy is to sell products at low prices (even lower than the competitors). Most marketing books will tell you that if you can’t add any value you go for a low price to entice customers.
Interestingly, customers are not just satisfied with the low price and want to be treated with respect as well.
This points to the fact that whatever strategy you employ – low cost, differentiation, etc, you better have some plan to make sure you market your reputation as well.
The take away from this post is for you to develop your company Values (if you don’t have one) or review them if needed and make sure they will have an impact on keeping your customers happy.
That will boost your business reputation.
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