Reasons Companies Lose Customer Trust

“If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.” – Howard Schultz

The converse of the quote is true and becomes the reason that companies lose customer trust. Sadly, companies seem consistently focused on making sales and forget a very critical part of business – gaining customer trust. While customers want to trust the company they do business with or may decide to enter into business with, they need reasons to do so. The very premise of public relations, customer service, and other aspects of a business should be building relationships and create customer trust. Once a company is able to establish trust, gaining repeat and more business would require a lot less effort. Customers work longer and better with companies and people they like and trust and would be more amenable to part with their money and time.

Unfortunately, while building trust is the foundation of any relationship, many companies lose customer trust for a variety of reasons. “Trust: The reputation of a thousand years may be undermined by the conduct of one hour.”- Japanese Proverb and therefore, companies need to be extra cautious when dealing with customers. The top reason cited by customers to lose trust in a company is the failure to listen and or respond to their queries and problems. This, customers view as, a purposeful ignoring, and it can be extremely tough for any company to recover from the negativity that brews from this viewpoint. Active listening and speedy responses are two of the best methods to recover from an inadvertent service lapse and are more effective than some companies care to believe. Businesses exist because of and for customers – it would make sense therefore to centralize its processes around the needs and expectations of customers, rather than doing things that could make them lose trust and move on to a competitor.

Despite the detrimental effects of customer distrust, many companies still fail to understand that even a single unintentional or inadvertent error and its non-recovery, could lead to the loss of customer trust, and overshadow all the hard work your company would have put in to build the business and gain customers. Is your company aware of what could make it lose customer trust?

This point pops up all the time – no one can ignore or negate the fact that with digitization, remaining relevant, ‘searchable’, and present is extremely critical. If customers are unable to ‘find’ you, it appears suspicious and they lose trust in your company. By ensuring that your online presence is updated and fresh, your company would show up each time customers and other viewers searched with particular keywords and or the name of your company. The easiest way for companies to lose customer trust is by lagging in their online efforts and becoming unintentionally incognito. Do not show up in an SEO search – customers could forget you for good.

We have mentioned the important of a strong and sound reputation for any company. Customers tend to ignore and lose trust in companies that have a poor reputation, for whatever reasons. Even employee reviews of being treated badly can have a negative impact on a company’s reputation and could lead to loss of customer trust. It is extremely hard to recover from such an image and it would behove companies to proactively manage their reputation – both offline and online. With so much competition and so many options for customers, it is highly unlikely that they would take the trouble to ‘investigate’ the truth of statements – they would rather move on to someone with a clean reputation and with products that serve them just as well.

A company’s website is its face and the window to the world outside.  Customers would first look at a company’s website before buying anything or going ahead with any business dealings. One of the best ways for a company to lose customer trust, is to have a poorly constructed website, irrelevant content, not easily navigable, and one with shoddy design and features. It is critical to keep your website relevant and informative, such that when customers and other casual visitors browse through, they not only learn about your company and its offerings, but also gain other interesting information and insights.

Another sure shot way, of losing customer trust is by constantly ‘brags’ and makes claims about the efficacy and ‘awesomeness’ of its offerings, without having any customer testimonials as proof to back its claims. People tend to buy (or not) and become customers (or not) only after reading the reviews about a company, written by existing users and customers. If you want more people to trust you and become your customers, ensure that you give your existing customers reasons to trust you and be so delighted with your company, that they willingly write testimonials for all to see.

We know that in the business world trust, loyalty, and positive image are not as permanent as we would wish them to be. It would be tough for any company to survive in a vacuum and networking is the way to go. By building strong market relationships, a company can leverage the strengths others and share its own with them. This is in turn builds confidence and trust in customers – they would want to stay connected with a company that enjoys strong market partnerships and cordial relationships. Companies that do not make efforts towards networking, could soon be overtaken, as standing alone in today’s cutthroat environment would be a self-defeating strategy. Customers would lose trust and would much rather conduct business with a ‘strong’ player than one that could be ousted at any time.

Lack of consistency and quality in the messages and communication a company sends out / posts on its online sites, is another reason for the loss of customer trust. When customers form an association with a company, they expect to gain value beyond the association and would not be happy if this were not the case regularly. Customers expect and deserve a consistent experiences and value through every form of interaction with the company and if the company fails in the crucial area of content and information management, it could pique customers beyond repair.

In their enthusiasm to strike a deal and gain a new customer, companies tend to overpromise at the initial stages of the relationship. However, the customer may soon discover that most of the promises are not being delivered on and would instantly lose trust on the company. Even if the company tries to salvage the situation, customers do become wary and would, at the first opportunity find a company that does deliver on its promises.

There is an overabundance of reasons that companies lose customer trust. It becomes even more difficult for companies to keep customers engaged since every customer is different and the expectations of each one would be dissimilar to the other. Companies must focus on personalization and customization and to do this must invest time and resources to know their customers well. Customers now are smarter and more intelligent and can easily perceive the difference between a genuine company and one that only appears so. It is tough to gain their trust, tougher to retain it and almost impossible to regain it if lost. Ensure that your company makes every effort – consistently and relentlessly – to never lose customer trust or else it could find itself heading towards the dark and deep crevice of oblivion.

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