The ‘Edge’ You Need is Customer Trust

Providing great customer service has been long established as the pre-condition for gaining customer loyalty. This credence puts you ahead of competition by ensuring higher profits through long term growth in business. To capture this lead, The ‘Edge’ you Need is Customer Trust. Customers want to know what changes and processes your company has put or will put in place to personalize the product or service you are offering. They most certainly want to know that your customer service is the best they can get, consistently. When you focus your business operations around understanding and exceeding these wants, you will build customer trust leading to loyalty. The good news is that customer trust can be strengthened over time such that they remain with you saving you valuable resources that would be required to attract or win them back. The higher the number of customers that trust you, the greater is your competitive edge since these customers are the ones who will give you increased business and pull others towards you as well. Focus on gaining customer trust and what you have is a solid foundation for a successful business.

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[img src=”×150.jpg” width=”210″ height=”150″ align=”right”] There are numerous ways to gain customer trust and as a company decide what works best for you. The ultimate goal is creating loyal customers who will stand by you and support your business ventures because of what you have offered and can offer in the future. This necessitates knowing your customer, keeping abreast with current trends, pointed focus on competition, consistent and pertinent changes in business strategies, improvements in customer service and creating a great work environment for your employees. All these factors must work in conjunction to create a ‘wow’ experience for your customer. When you constantly innovate and pro-actively change or re-think a product or service to suit the customer needs, it sends a message to them to let you lead, which is a major step towards trust. Customers, who can see visible signs of continuous effort at quality customer service, do tend to overlook a one-off human error or defect. You as a company need to immediately rectify the problem and let the customer know. When customers receive quality and justification through the offering and service, they are ready to pay even a slightly higher price. This would be true even if your competitor has the same range at a cheaper price. This is where customer trust really begins to give you that edge. Personalize your service – as discussed previously, an umbrella service module or even pricing will be ineffective given the diverse nature of your customer base. Tying all this together would be the most valuable resource – your people. Keep them motivated, trained and well rewarded. Happy employees will deliver excellence leading to happy trusting customers.

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It would work well to list out a few more ‘helpers’ that would move your customers from being satisfied to trusting and ultimately loyal.

• Be a reliable support since the customer is in some way depending on your services to gain success. Deliver on what you commit and strictly adhere to timelines. Keep your customers suitably informed in the event that there is an unforeseen or inadvertent error. These are bound to happen, but if you keep them in the loop it will be easier for them to make the adjustments required. Let them know the amount of extra time you would need and ensure you then deliver accordingly. Don’t keep your customers hanging or in a state of confusion – communicate your reliability.

• You know your company’s product or service and the extent of their capability. Under no circumstance should you overcommit or lie. The customer will ultimately hold you answerable to this lie and would most likely leave you while talking about the experience. Be open, honest and transparent in your dealings with them and give them pointed answers about how you operate, what they can expect and how you arrived at the particular price point for your offering. Both honesty and lies are very easily perceived. Honesty will get you trusting and loyal customers.

• You have a great product and a competitive price but it would help to exhibit to your customer that you are their best bet to deliver and come through on their requirements. Show them results of previous customer service surveys and scores. Tangible results will help to convince them. Consistently look at the kinds of customer experiences your company is delivering and how the grey areas could be removed. Keep improving through continuous feedback and the customer will have no choice but to trust you.

• Anticipate what your customer could need next. Send them your thoughts even before they ask for it. Exceeding the customer’s needs is one of the most effective ways to building unbeatable trust.

• All your customers should be equally important. Remember to keep in touch through regular mailers, social media updates or even personal interactions. They won’t forget you if you don’t! Even if they are not your customers any more, they will take time out to refer you on to someone who might need your company’s service. The customers they refer to you would already be in the trust zone!

• Running a large or small business is no piece of cake and is a serious matter. However, there is always room for showing that you care and are interested in your customer. Remember names, some personal details like family and interests, without crossing on to over-familiarity. Customers appreciate receiving handwritten notes on an occasion or a card and flowers when there is cause for celebration. Remember to also thank customers for giving you their business and let them know you value it. This lends a personal touch in your dealings and makes it easier for the customer to like and trust you.

• Ensure that all your employees maintain work ethics and etiquette at all times. Using please and thank must be the culture. If the customer requests a response by way of a call or email or a customer service representative promises to call or write, this must be complied with under any circumstance. The customer will know that he or she can rely on you without having to follow up.

• Create a culture of listening to your customers. Doing this prevents a large number of queries and minor irritants from turning in to ugly complaints. Most often customers do not want to actually complain but just want to be heard. In fact, these situations must be seen as great opportunities to learn and improve. Ensure you have the right set of people attending to these queries. Choose customer service representatives that characteristically display genuine interest in others and are not flustered in the face of angry customers. Add regular and pertinent training along with incentives for high performing representatives.

• As a company you would have customers that could probably need the service of the other. Make those referrals and be sure to let both parties know that you were instrumental in getting them to connect. Added business will ensure that your customers trust you and will probably do the same for you.

• Add a hint of humor to diffuse the stressed work environments. When you have customers who can laugh with you, trust is already a premise there. You never know when your customer needs a break from the dull routine of his or work-life and would thank you for adding cheer to their day.

A mix of all these obvious yet oft ignored pointers, would lead to a larger customer base with a major part of them trusting you enough to remain loyal to your brand. It is in your control to make your brand a focal point in the mind of the customer through excellence in customer service. Great customer service may cost you a few bucks initially but in the long haul it proves far more economical than attract new customers or trying to get back those that deflected due to shoddy service received. Keep your customers loyal through building trust and you will find it easier to gain more customers. Your brand is only as good and lasting as your customer’s trust and loyalty.

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