Building Trust in Customers

“Customer retention may be best supported by operational integrity. After all, when you think about your personal relationships as well as your business relationships, you tend to stick with the folks that are really good at showing they sincerely care about you, and doing what they say they’re going to do. It boils down to trust.” – L. Hunsaker

The premise of a successful business is that it would have a large and loyal customer base. However, this is not easy to attain since customers remain with companies they like and can trust. Building trust in customers then is the basis for greater success, business growth, market reputation and leadership and a band of satisfied and happy employees. Of course, this does not undermine the fact that a company must have a reputation for being good at what it does but without building trust in customers consistently and in a variety of ways, talent and stature will not suffice. Building trust in customers is a herculean task and takes a lot of hard work, dedication and investment of time and resources. Once a company is able to gain the trust of its customers, it proves to be a highly lucrative investment.

Building trust in customers will not only keep them with your company but will ensure that they spread positive comments about your company, thereby attracting more customers. Internally, a company must aim to become and remain strong on integrity and trust and hence must hire people with such a mind-set and continually train and coach them to enhance this trait. Building trust in customers comes with offering them the best – service, products, complaints handling and going the extra mile to ensure that customers remain happy and satisfied. While it may require some investment on the part of the company, building trust in customers brings huge rewards for the company in the form of better profits, enhanced reputation and a strong and profitable customer base who would also be willing brand ambassadors. What steps has your company taken towards building trust in customers?

When customers connect with a company, there is definitely an emotional reason connected with the business requirement. The expectation is that the company will interact with them on a personal level and lend personalization to the association. A company’s efforts in building a connection will go a long way in building trust in customers – research has proven that customers tend to trust companies they like and those that are warm and lend a human touch to each interaction. Ensure that your customer service representatives reflect empathy, care and deep understanding in every interaction they have with customers.

We have spoken earlier about the attractiveness of easy customer service – that is, when customer effort is negligible. Your company must make it easy for customers to do business with it by removing barriers to service, providing top class products and services and remaining passionate about serving them. Building trust in customers will not be too hard or take too much time when companies put their heart and soul in serving customers and displaying this in everything they do. Customers now have many choices – by giving them reason to trust, you would be making yourself the number one choice, which would be a great advantage to have given the current scenario.

Building trust in customers is also a factor of a company’s ability to prove its competence and leadership in the chosen realm. The company must have proven capability of serving customers better than others, providing unmatchable quality in its products and services and been exemplary within the industry in order that customers first pay attention to it. In addition, the company must have an established reputation of high integrity and credibility – not just with customers but also with other stakeholders such as employees, investors, vendors and others. It becomes a lot easier for new customers to believe that the company will put their needs before its own and will focus on their needs and expectations.

A company must remain transparent and honest in all its dealings. This would reflect in keeping customers informed about both its hits and misses, the company would never misrepresent or glorify the benefits of their products and or services, the necessary paperwork for each transaction would be complete and readily available and other such traits that would reflect openness. For building trust in customers, the company must be able to explain clearly, what the customer could expect and what would not be possible – no false claims and promises at any stage just to get their business. The company must give the customer every opportunity to decide whether they would like to do business with the company, based on complete information. Ensure that the information provided by your company is consistent and uniform across all channels – this includes online messages as well. Consistency leads to trust and it must be a company’s endeavour to maintain this in its service, messages, the interactions its representatives have with customers and every aspect that connects it to customers. As customers begin to trust a company, they would be happy to send testimonials for your company’s website, which would prove to cement your company’s stand on integrity and transparency.

Building trust in customers is about understanding them and communicating with them in the way they would want and through the channels that they deem appropriate. Your company must take time to listen actively to what customers say and even solicit their views and opinions via feedback surveys and personal interactions. Smart companies have dedicated teams to collect, collate and analyse customer data that enable them to get a better understanding of their target audience and existing customers. By getting to know customers better, a company would be able to put in place, customized options, personalized products and services and serve customers in the way they deem appropriate – all these factors would contribute towards building trust in customers. It is a common human trait to trust those who take the time and show interest in doing things for them that they consider of value and important.

Research statistics show that when customers are able to trust a brand, at least 83% of them will recommend the company to others and about 82% customers said that they would continue to provide business to the same company. To enable customers to trust a company, it must first reach out and provide the best of everything to its customers. A company must display genuine interest in and concern for its customers in order for them to think about starting an association with it. The more investment a company makes on providing great service, the lesser time it will take for them to gain the trust and loyalty of customers.

Building trust in customers is about standing up for whatever your company has promised, irrespective of what your company would need to do to maintain them. Customers will trust your company if the words and actions of your company complement each other – simply providing ‘lip service’ does nothing to build trust. Companies can scream themselves hoarse saying that they are the best and that their customer service is top class. However, if their actions do not match these words, customers are unlikely to remain with the company and would in fact tell others of the poor experience they had.

Despite a company’s best efforts, there will be times when customers would have reason to complain. Building trust in customers is also about allowing customers the liberty and the channels to complain – in fact, complaints are actually feedback that will help the company to improve and provide even better service and products. Make it simple, easy and convenient for your customers to complain and let you know what is not working.

Building trust in customers is not easy – cannot emphasize this enough. If your company consistently acts in the best interest of its customers, over time, customers will learn that they can depend and trust your company. This in turn means customer loyalty, higher profits and increased business – great news for any company.

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