We’ve all heard about how a bad reputation can ruin a business in no time flat, but have you ever heard of businesses that were saved because of their good reputations? Here are three success stories that not only prove it’s possible, but that it’s actually happened.
Nick’s Pizza and Pub
Not very long ago, Nick’s Pizza and Pub was in such bad shape that they were on the brink of shutting down. While the whole chain was bringing in revenue, their newer location had been losing money for a while, and the debt had begun to catch up. When owner Nick Sarillo lost all hope, he decided to make a last ditch effort to save it: he emailed the 16,000 members on his frequent-diner list and asked for help.
In a long and brutally honest email, he admitted that “This failure is not the fault of our team members; on the contrary, I am extremely grateful to them for their incredible contributions, including accepting salary cuts, taking on more responsibilities and volunteering to market us on their own time. The whole responsibility for our troubles is mine for making the bad decisions that got us into this mess.”
And then he added, “If within these next four weeks we could see a large increase in sales at either of our restaurants, we could still pull through. So my final request is for each of you to come dine at Nick’s Pizza & Pub and tell all your family, friends, co-workers and neighbors to come now, too. We want to continue on as a part of your community [sic] and aren’t ready to tell you goodbye yet.”
Within days of the message, sales at Nick’s locations nearly doubled — and they stayed high for weeks. Not only did the support get his business out of a jam, but it also encouraged his bank to restructure the company’s mortgage to make it more viable.
Fast forward to the present day: Nick’s Pizza and Pub is still alive and kicking: http://www.nickspizzapub.com/
New Mexico Tea Company
David Edwards started an Albuquerque tea business in 2006 and did everything right to help him create a loyal customer base. What he never foresaw in his tea leaves, however, was the economic downturn that arrived a couple years later.
Due to the economy and a few bad decisions (read: letting some expenses get out of hand), his sales dwindled to the point where all revenue went towards paying the bills. The bank denied him a line of credit, and he had no choice but to do the most radical thing a business could do: admit to customers that he was in a bad state and ask for their help.
Edwards thought up a creative lending plan, wherein his customers could buy gift cards and reclaim them for a higher value than they paid. The only condition was that these gift cards could not be reclaimed until a few months later.
Honesty paid off, and his customers helped him reach his target of $5,000 within two days.
Fast forward to the present day: just like Nick’s Pizza and Pub, the New Mexico Tea Company is also alive and kicking: http://www.nmteaco.com/
How Did These Businesses Build Such a Loyal Customer Base?
Isn’t that the million dollar question? The answer, however, couldn’t be simpler: They treated their customers well from day one.
Take, for instance, one more story that happened to a customer of Morton’s Steakhouse.
Peter Shankman was flying back to New York from a long day of travel and knew that he wouldn’t arrive until after dinner. He knew he’d be starving by the time he landed, so as a joke he sent the following tweet: “Hey, @Mortons – can you meet me at newark airport with a porterhouse when I land in two hours? K, thanks. :)”
To his surprise, the restaurant was listening. When he landed at the airport, there was a man waiting for him with the order.
Surely Morton’s Steakhouse made at least one loyal fan for life that day, and you can only imagine how many other people would have been inspired to eat there just because of this story.
At the end of the day, Nick’s Pub, New Mexico Tea Company, and Morton’s Steakhouse all highlight the importance of Reputation Management for every business, big or small: listen to your customers, engage with them, and treat them well if you want to reap the rewards.
VendAsta’s Reputation Management platform is focused on helping local businesses monitor, manage, and build their online reputations.
Two of our solutions – Reputation Intelligence and Brand Analytics – show businesses what people are saying about them on the web in review sites, online directories and social networks, and our CRM tool – Concierge – gives media agencies the ability to manage all of that data for their end users. Presence Builder and Social Marketing are two solutions that help local businesses build their online reputations by helping them create and market social accounts, websites, and more. Contact us today for a demo.