Do Your Customers Trust You?
There are some things in business that are hugely important to a company’s overall success, but which you can’t even see, or even measure, really. Take a customer’s trust in a company. It’s imperative, but you don’t even notice it when it’s there; you just know when it’s NOT there. While getting new leaders, improving products and services, and so on is important, one of the best methods for ensuring long-term success is to win the hearts and minds of the customers you’re dealing with. You need to have their trust. Below, we take a look at ways you can gain – and lose – that trust.
Only In It For Money
You’re unlikely to have set up your company primarily as a vehicle to do good in the world. You’ll have wanted to make money, and that’s fine. The problem arises, however, when it’s clear that you’re only in the business world in order to make money; that you don’t care about anything else. There has been some interesting research into this topic, actually, and it turns out that, more and more, customers are turning their backs on the companies who aren’t socially engaged. If you can show that you care about the world around you – say, the environment – then you’ll be on your way to gaining the trust of your customers.
Walk the Talk
If you’re operating in a competitive industry, then you’ll need to make some big claims in order to get people interested in your company. But here’s the thing: you can’t just make the claims, or talk the talk. You need to be able to walk the walk! If you’re making promises to a customer about all the wonderful thing you can do for them, then make sure you really can, both in time and talent. If you can’t, then it’s highly unlikely you’ll be given a second opportunity by the customer that you let down.
If you’ve given your money to a company, then you want to make sure that you’re able to talk to them. That’s exactly how your customers feel. Between your call center, social media pages, and website, your customers should always be able to get the information they need. Trust will also be gained by having a website that is secure and always up and running (nothing erodes trust like a ‘website not available’ message). To ensure it’s always online, work with a small business IT support company. They’ll make sure that your systems are always up, running, and ready for customer visits.
And talking about your website, keep in mind that it’s not just security icons and the like that’ll help to build trust: what’s held on the website will also make a difference. If your website is full of spelling and grammatical errors, poor-quality photographs, or duplicate pages, then a potential customer is going to think that the company is not worthy of their time or money. Before launch, make sure you’re going through your website with a magnifying glass to check for any errors. You should also mix up the text every now and again, as well as the design of your website.
Owning Up to Mistakes
No company is perfect. Every single organization on the planet has a customer – or many customers – that they’ve let down in some way. While you can’t avoid these mistakes, you can control how you respond to them. If you realize that you’ve made an error, don’t try to deflect the blame or pretend that you haven’t noticed. Own up to it at the first opportunity you get. You might still lose the customer, but your trust will remain – and in any case, you would definitely lose them later on if you didn’t own up to the mistake, anyway.
You can’t give one message and then say or do something else. Your company branding is important, perhaps more important than most organizations realize. If you’re not going to build trust overnight with your customers, then you can at least let it slowly build up over months and years by being consistent in your message, tone, goals, and so on.
There’s No Love
Finally, remember to show the love! One of the biggest trust turn-offs for customers is not feeling duly recognized by the companies with which they spend their money. When a customer buys something from you, follow it up with a thank you email, and a feedback request. It’ll show that you trust and value their opinion, and in turn will build a connection.
Photo by Hurst | Shutterstock
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