If your business is your only source of income, chances are you want to go the extra mile to protect it. But are you going far enough? These days, security and reputation can be incredibly important for every company. If you become the victim of a crime or embroiled in public mudslinging online, it could easily destroy your company. And that might be the end of your business. Here are just a few things that need to be carefully protected to make sure your company survives:
Your business premises is incredibly important. It is essential that you keep this locked and secured at all times. Any personal information held here must be locked away and protected from fire or water damage risks too. This information might include customer data or personal finance records for your employees. It is your legal obligation to protect this. Any theft, breach or destruction must be accounted for, and that might be on your head!
Your premises should also be safe and secure for the people working there. You should have facilities in place to make sure nobody can get in that isn’t welcome. You might install keycard entry systems for secure areas. A safe is important if you handle cash too. A security guard could also help to check the credentials of visitors.
Customers are essential. Without them, you have no income and no business. The trouble is, not all transactions are genuine. You need to make sure each customer you sell to is formally identified, especially with high-value purchases. It is possible to prove your consumers are authentic by verifying their identity using apps or services from third parties. This can protect your income and ensure you’re not sending out goods to fake identities.
Some platforms for sales are better than others. Use services that protect you as a seller as well as offering more reputable transactions. This boosts your reputation too. The platform will perform background checks on you, so you are verified as a good seller to your customers. Equally, customers will have a wider range of payment options to better suit their needs.
IT and Data
Your IT systems can be breached if you don’t take precautions. Even your website might be prone to attack. This might not cost you any data, but if your website is down, you might not be able to transact. Any customers that see your website is compromised might choose not to transact with you anyway. It can damage your reputation. You should also be certain your SSL certificates are up to date and protected too.
If you store any data locally on your company server or computers, you must have procedures in place to protect it. Encryption and password protection is essential. Beyond this, you might prefer to have IT technicians on site to protect and maintain your equipment. Connectivity is essential for any company. You might not be able to afford any downtime. What would that cost your business in time and money from lost transactions?
Social media is an important part of your marketing and customer relationships. It’s now considered the preferred method for customers to reach out to businesses, especially when they have a problem or a gripe. It’s important that you regularly monitor each social media platform. You can set up automated responses for any out-of-hours time frames. But generally speaking, customers want a response within just a few minutes.
Live chat facilities on your website should be available during normal business operating hours. You can also hire customer service representatives to respond through platforms like Twitter or FaceBook as customer inquiries come in. Generally speaking, the operator will encourage conversations to be handled offline or use private messages. You can script responses and even direct operators to adopt a tone of voice that suits your branding message.
If you ignore every negative response, or simply don’t know about it, you might face reputation or PR problems. Some messages are better left ignored, but if a customer genuinely has a problem or is upset about your service, do respond appropriately. You should be regularly checking relevant forums and customer review sites too. Be sure to thank customers, regardless of their views.
Are You Protected Enough?
One of the easiest ways to protect yourself is to register your business as a limited liability company. This limits your personal liability should any issues arise. You should still hold liability insurance to suit the nature of your services or products. Are you and your business adequately protected to ensure your income stays safe?