Some names have been changed to protect the guilty innocent.
The other day Jim, Rob, David, and I were discussing an issue Jim was having with a local company and it wasn't the first issue he'd had. When discussing this with the company president "Bob", he was informed that it was "fact" that they knew what they were doing.
But do they really? This business owner was adamant about the "fact" that he knew what he was doing because he had been in business so long, but Jim disagreed because of the problems he was having.
A fact is something that can be tested and proven, whereas an opinion is something that someone thinks about the subject. Bob's been in business for a long time and believes that speaks to the quality of his service. All Jim knows is that Bob doesn't know his head from a hole in the ground. More importantly, Jim's telling everyone he runs into not to do business with this company. Yes, Bob has 20 years experience, but now he has a client who's not happy with him and is going to tell other potential clients not to deal with him.
Reputations are not generally based on fact. They are based on the opinions, or perception, of your clientele. Even if your company has been in business forever, does it really matter if you run your business poorly and write off clients needs? Look at companies like Dell. Once upon a time they were a powerhouse in the computer industry. But, somewhere along the line their product and customer service began to suffer. They began to lose business purely because their product and service was slipping away fast. Thanks to people like Richard at Dell, the company has been able to rebound.
It's an interesting tug of war when it comes to fact v. opinion with business. When looking for a new service to deal with, I'm sure that it matters to you how long the company has been in business. What ultimately makes your decision though? Is it the company lifespan or company reviews and word of mouth?
eBay uses a buyer/seller rating system to provide feedback for potential sales so that each party knows who they are dealing with. When you see a lot of bad marks, do you consider that to be a fact or just one person's opinion? Why are you even looking at someone's opinion to decide on a product or service? Is there a line that you draw when looking at customer reviews?
What do you think? Are the reputations of companies built on facts or opinion? Is it the pen or the dollar that's more powerful?
As a new segment of our blog, we'll periodically bring you a thought provoking post from Jim Black (CEO), Rob Anderson (VP of Marketing), David Byrd (VP of Operations), and Maranda Gibson (Account Consultant and official blogger). We hope you enjoy, and above all, that we hope can drum up some interesting conversation.
Posted by Maranda Gibson, Account Specialist