Customer Trust – your Best Defence

“Trust is the basis of any customer-provider relationship. Without trust; you have no relationship.” – Robert W Lucas

You don’t need gimmicks, promotion brouhaha and other costly methods to attract customers and have great relationships with them. All you need as a company is to excel at what you do, provide stellar customer service and continuously build your best defence – customer trust. If a company seems successful, a closer look will reveal that these are probably the reasons for its success and the cornerstone would be that there customers trust them and have been with them for years and continue to pledge allegiance. While it is a known fact that it takes years to build trust and it is only a matter of one misgiving or a few seconds to lose it, the effort put in to build and sustain trust, certainly has its merits. Customers that trust you will continue providing repeat business and great referrals and testimonials that in turn will attract more business and new customers. Customer trust is your best defence and strongest shield and will save you even if the going gets tough or if there is a surge in new companies. All you need to do is maintain a high service level and maintain good, consistent and transparent customer relationships.

The great news is that customer trust can be the best defence for any company, irrespective of its size. Research clearly indicates that companies that are trusted by customers have an 83% higher chance of being recommended to others and 82% customers will provide repeat business. Those are huge numbers and can only be attained through sincerity, great service and being trustworthy for customers – it is well-known from experience that while customers may not always blow the bugle for great service, they would most certainly make their ire known, through every possible channel and to everyone they know. Treating customers well and gaining customer trust is easy when you place yourself in the customer’s position and evaluate how you would like to be treated. As we have said before, customer service is a mind-set and so a company either has it or does not. It should flow naturally and there must be a willingness to deliver service with empathy and courteousness and the company should be displaying traits that will lead to customer trust.

In a business, and customers know this too, there will be many occasions when despite the best intentions and sincerest of efforts would fall flat and there would be problems. However, if you have customer trust and they have perceived that your company is mostly responsive and have regularly exceeded their expectations your company will find it a lot easier to tide over the problems. Customer trust at this time can prove invaluable and will serve as an unshakeable pillar of support for any business, keeping the foundation strong.

Customer trust, or for that matter trust from anyone, is an extremely valuable asset for anyone and any business to have. It must never be abused or even taken for granted. Customer trust must be earned over a period of time and must be sustained with the same level of interest as when you set out to earn it. The reality is that customers speak to one another and can greatly influence another’s level of trust for a company. If your customer trusts you consistently, they would speak about you well. Therefore, another important aspect of trust is consistency and steadfastness in dealings.

The other major benefit and advantage of customer trust through being consistent and dependable is that your employees see you as a great company and will tend to work better and stay with you for longer. It is only through continuity of service from employees that you can serve your customers with a high degree of satisfaction. Employees too learn to trust and will do whatever it takes to make the company successful when they see that the company is honest in their dealings. An honest company will be transparent in their interactions with their employees too and this steadfastness will show in the quality of work life and the kind of offerings that the company produces. A reliable company will not only work towards maintaining a balance, they would continuously monitor and put checks in place to ensure that everything is working the way it should and will be ready to make the necessary changes at the slightest hint of trouble. Customer trust and employee trust are two crucial aspects for any company and the leadership of a trustworthy company constantly display high levels of integrity and other aspects that contribute towards trust. For example – they would always be mindful of how they behave with customers and employees and be aware of the smallest details since they would know that employees will emulate whatever they do. So how does a company display that they are worthy of customer trust?

  • Agreed you are in business to make a profit – the customers are too. However, to gain customer trust they must know that whatever you are selling to them will be in their best interest and will more than serve their requirement. They should be able to perceive that your company will not sell to them just to make money off them. Provide the customer with solutions not just products. Make them want to depend on you – that is how you gain long term customer trust.
  • Be honest and transparent about both the advantages and shortcomings of your offerings. Do not over emphasize its utility but give the customer all the facts and let them decide based on those facts. The offering needs to work for them long term and it is their money – they deserve to know the complete truth.
  • Another fact that can never be said enough is never promise what you cannot do or cannot deliver in time. It is extremely tempting for companies to over promise, especially at the stage of the sales pitch, and when the product does not match the claims made by the company the customer is left feeling frustrated and unable to trust.
  • Many companies have strict policies about giving to and taking gifts from customers. The reason being that gifting often compromises the relationship and could lead to either party feeling indebted to the other leaving room for unethical dealings.
  • Ensure that pricing is consistent across all locations and that customers know that irrespective of where they buy, they will receive the same price and quality.
  • Customer trust is also built based on how a company deals with a problem. We have said that problems are inevitable and companies that have ‘rescue plans’ in place will be able to provide more effective and speedier solutions. Such companies will not assign blame but instead will use the problem as an opportunity to get better and also to delight the customer. Also remember to inform the customer of the lapse – never withhold information for any reason. Let customers know upfront that there is a problem and also what you are doing about it. Withholding information could be seen as an attempt to cheat them, which is not what you are trying to achieve. Be forthright and honest. Such service will not only please the customer but also ensure that they let others know about how well their problem was handled and how truly the company deserves customer trust.
  • Weave empathy and care into every business dealing. Show these traits to your employees and also provide training to the customer service staff for the same. When customers can see that you care for them and not just their business, they will be more than happy to build strong relationships with you and over time become loyal and more profitable.
  • Competition exists and their presence makes you want to get better. Remember never to bad-mouth any of your competitors. It reflects badly on you since customers see you as a company that will talk behind the backs of people – not a trait of someone who is trustworthy.

Customer trust takes time to build and credibility strengthens over time. Remain steadfast and consistent in your efforts and rest assured that your customers and all those you interact with will see your company as dependable and worth being associated with.

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