Having a positive reputation for your company is priceless and can help give you a competitive edge, but building a reputation takes effort. Here are some tips that can help.

1. Provide a Quality Experience

Probably the number one way to build a positive reputation among customers is to be very good at what your business does. Provide them with a quality experience every time, and they will notice. Your reputation will be hurt by giving them something that is subpar for their hard-earned money. Use feedback to get ideas for possible improvements.

2. Give Priority to Customer Service

Bad customer service can have a severely negative impact on a business's reputation. Make sure customer service is a priority. Always encourage feedback from customers and respond accordingly. Make yourself and your employees available across as many channels as possible to help customers with their needs and concerns. Make sure you have a well-trained staff. If people aren't completely satisfied with your products or services, be sure your customer service team helps turn this around. Being friendly and helpful can go a long way toward helping you maintain a positive reputation if the customer's experience didn't go according to plan. Be willing to go the extra mile to make things right, whether it's offering a discount, a gift certificate, or some other sign that you appreciate their patronage and want them to continue doing business with you.

3. Get Involved with Your Community

Get out into the community and make your brand presence and personality known. Attend and sponsor events, and find local causes where you can help make a difference. When people see you doing good deeds, they may be more inclined to choose your business.

4. Respond to Reviews

We live in an era in which online reviews can have a tremendous impact on a business's reputation. No matter how hard you try to please your customers, there will inevitably be some who are less than impressed. Unfortunately, it's often the ones who aren't completely satisfied with their experience who make the effort to post reviews on social media sites. This doesn't have to be damaging to your reputation, however. Address negative reviews professionally and listen to what they have to say. Let them know that you appreciate their feedback and continue to strive to provide the best experience possible. Also, show gratitude for positive reviews.

5. Build Your Online Presence

Reviews are only part of your online presence. Ensure you have a high-quality and user-friendly website that provides information a potential customer might be interested in. Invest some time into building a social media presence with interesting content that helps you build your brand, as well as a positive reputation in search engine results. Research ways to build your online presence, take advantage of social media and SEO. If you aren’t technically inclined or don’t have the time to work on it yourself, consider hiring an expert. If you use freelance help, it might be easier on your budget.  Advertise through local specials via Google or other search engines.  Send custom postcards to those in your neighborhood.

6. Give a Little Something Extra

Most people love free stuff. They also love surprises. Try giving them a little something extra to leave a lasting impression. It doesn't have to be something expensive, but providing a small, unexpected gift with a purchase is a great way to show your gratitude and make a customer feel that their business is appreciated.

7. Treat Your Employees Well

Employees who feel mistreated or undervalued tend to have bad attitudes that translate into poor customer service, whereas happy employees are much more likely to treat customers well. In addition, people who don't like their jobs usually talk about it to friends and may post about their dissatisfaction on social media, which isn’t not good for a business's reputation. Treating your employees well is not only good for morale and staff retention, but it can also improve your reputation in the community.

8. Engage with Your Customers

Engage with customers online and off so they don't feel like they're just another number in your books. Be friendly and listen to what they have to say. If they seem talkative or open to having a conversation, don't be afraid to engage them, without getting too personal. If they leave comments on your social media posts, acknowledge them so they know you're listening. If customers think you care about them, they're much more likely to continue doing business with you in the future.

Ultimately, your reputation hinges on how you treat people, so even if your business isn't perfect all the time (and what business is?) doing the right thing as much as possible is bound to earn you credibility with your customer base.