Do you want to know how a company lost $1.5 billion due to a single advertisement?
They lost the money, not because of poor sales, but due to a bad reputation because of the advertisement. When customer sentiment was harmed, the stocks fell for this company. You can read more about it here.
In short, customers lost their trust in the brand. The brand even has celebrity fans like David Beckham and Hugh Jackman, none of them could avert the damage done to the brand.
Customer trust is something that takes time to develop. It cannot happen in a few days nor can you make it transpire with clever marketing tricks.
Customers often work with a bunch of vendors, but becoming their most trusted vendor is where the ‘trick’ lies. Well, didn’t we just say that there are no tricks to becoming trustworthy?
You can build trust with excellent customer service and consistent production of reliable products. If you want to build a successful business, customer success and loyalty are extremely important.
No shortcuts are going to give you customers who will stay loyal with you. That’s why it is wiser to keep an existing customer happy than to just go after newer customers. In fact, it’s 5x costlier to get a newer customer than keeping an existing customer loyal to you.
Every time you make a customer wait on the phone line longer than necessary, take more than 2-3 days to get back to a customer over email, send them the wrong product, didn’t get back as promised, or didn’t keep your word, they will lose their trust in you.
Why is Customer Trust more Important than Ever?
Today’s customers have more options than you can even imagine. If they choose you and end up staying with you, it will be only with the belief that you provide them with good products and with superior customer service. Otherwise, it is easy for them to find a different vendor. It will hardly take the click of a few buttons for them to find another service provider.
In business, Customer Trust is literally sacred. Customers trust in a brand because of a lot of reasons. It starts from the way you treat them to the quality of your products to the ratings and reviews that you get on a regular basis.
31% of customers say that trustworthiness is the most important attribute they look for in a brand. Trust is important and customers use it as a barometer. If your brand is something that they can believe in, then they will be more than happy buying from you. But if you rank low on the trust barometer, then don’t be shocked if you see a decline in sales.
Businesses should do everything in their power to inspire trust in their customers. It should be from the content they produce, marketing strategies, sales scripts- everything. At no point should the customer feel as if they are being shortchanged. Businesses these days can stand apart from the crowd only by providing an exceptional experience to its customers.
One of the greatest benefits of building trust is that customers will keep coming to you and will not abandon you at any point of time. If brands like Apple, Sephora command premium prices while still having a fanatical customer base, it is only because of their dogged focus towards their customer.
6 Impactful Ways to Build Customer Trust
There are many ways that you can build customer trust. Your customers rely on you to get their business or life running smoothly. If the things you promised are unmet, then you are cheating them. There are no ifs and buts about that.
Customer trust and Retention is interconnected. You can retain your customers only if you keep them satisfied. Otherwise, no CRM or loyalty program is going to help you. Every customer is important, if you don’t treat everyone with the same respect, you will be disappointed because of the repercussions.
1. Excellent Customer Service
The kind of customer service that you provide should be discussed by your competitors during their meetings. That is the type of impact it should have. If you can achieve that level of sophistication, then you are gold in the eyes of the customer. It has a huge impact on customer loyalty and retention.
You need to create a culture where your employees provide the best service possible without even having to instruct them. It is only possible if you can lay a foundation and build a culture like that. Such high standards are possible when the management gives freedom for its employees to take decisions according to what is right.
Train your team of agents, not only customer support agents but everyone else in the company so that they know that customers should be taken care of.
Offer your customers a variety of channels to get access to you. Whenever your customers reach out to you from different channels, they should not feel that one channel provides better service than the other. Why? Maybe because channel A is convenient for your customer while channel B is not.
Whenever customers reach out to you, they do so with the belief that their problems will be solved. If there is no assurance like that, your customers will always feel confused and surely will look out for better service. Encourage your employees to see each customer problem as a unique one and offer them solutions that way.
2. Strong Value Proposition
Building trust is not a one-day job. It is an integral part of the way your business gets done. If you look at some of the most powerful brands in the world, you will find that their first priority is always customers. They would spend hundreds of thousands of dollars just to keep the customers happy.
There is ridiculous competition these days across all industries. If you want to be considered as one of the best in the industry and want that reflected on your bottom line as well, then you need to have a strong value proposition.
You should give reasons to your customers as to why they should choose you over anyone else. A strong product and an equally ambitious customer service plan is the only way you can get into the hearts of your customers. It is difficult, but if you have a solid plan, then you can do it.
Use your marketing and communication strategy to create customer trust. Ensure that your messaging strategy is on point, there are no inconsistencies in the messaging across different channels and everything that is promised to the customer happens accordingly. Consistent messaging is the only way you can reinforce your values and showcase who you are as a brand.
3. Use social media effectively
One of the biggest advantages of being active on social media is that customers will keep viewing your content often, this will help with top of the mind recall.
Once you have more visibility for your brand, it will eventually translate into more followers and they will be more open to becoming your customers. The more that people see of your brand, the higher are the chances that they will think of your brand when they are looking for a similar product.
Apart from that, you can also use social media as a channel using which customers can reach out to you. Not every customer would be comfortable using email, but they are more likely to have used Facebook.
Imagine the surprise of an older customer when they know that they can easily solve their queries by logging into Facebook (something that they do regularly) instead of having to go through an IVR or a series of emails which might be unfamiliar territory for them.
The key is not only to be active on social media sites, but also come across as an authority. Customers want to spend their money on businesses that know what they do. Social media is a great place for you to spread your knowledge about what you know, how your product solves their problems and also show them live examples of businesses that are benefiting from using it.
Use it also to post regular content for prospective customers who are in different stages of the funnel.
4. Under-promise and Over-delivery
If there is one way to be the darling of your customers, it is to surprise them with your service. They should be shocked at the level of exceptional service that you offer.
Brands like Amazon, Zappos, etc, are the ones that are shining examples of businesses that are known to delight their customers in ways that might be completely new for other businesses around the world. The level of promise and service that they provide are almost unparalleled among the normal business folks.
Let’s say your customer orders for a product and you promise that the product will be available at their doorstep in a week’s time. Imagine the delight of the customer if they find that they will get the product delivered on the 2nd day itself. Customers are not that trusting of businesses these days, we are sure you are aware of that. That’s because customers feel like they have been lied to a lot.
Every time a customer feels that they are being manipulated, they will move away from the brand. They are less likely to trust the brand and will communicate their feelings to their friends and family as well. To put it simply, customers are only looking for something that meets their expectations. They aren’t even looking for something out of the ordinary. But if you can over-deliver to them, they will be delighted, it will spawn loyalty and they will only have good things to say about your business.
No customer has ever complained that a business was always available for them. It is a boon these days to find brands that take care of the customer like no other. Anytime you want to convey something to your customers, ensure that you communicate it right away.
Do not wait for your customers to come to you with questions when there is an obvious solution already available which could have been communicated to them much earlier.
At any point if you feel that you have wronged your customer, do not worry, tell your customers openly about it. They will be happy to hear from you and are more likely to forgive you for your fault. The same might not be the case if they were to hear about your folly from someone else.
When anything goes wrong, immediately acknowledge it and promise to your customers that you will make amends to better the situation.
When you communicate regularly with your customers, they will feel as if you are always available to them. That’s a really good thing for your customers to think about you. It means that your customers will be more trusting of you.
People feel comfortable when they know they can reach out to you at any time. Ensure that customers can reach out to you through different channels. If possible, give them a dedicated account manager who will take care of their needs.
6. Get feedback from your customers
The fact that you could send an email to your customers and you could pick their brains for free is one of the best things that businesses can do to protect the interest of its customers.
Customers are more than happy to share what they feel about your brand, the service provided and if they would be open to shopping from you again. The best way to do that is by regularly sending them surveys using a tool like SurveySparrow where you can get their feedback.
Allow the option for your customers to share their opinions regularly. There is no one else better who can offer you insights about your product. Some of the most noteworthy questions that you can ask your customers are as follows:
- Are you satisfied with the solution that we offer?
- Do you think you are getting the kind of support that you expected from us after becoming our customer?
- Where do you think we can be better?
- What are the additional features that you are looking for?
- How can we improve our service?
- On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with the experience at our company?
Apart from asking these questions, it should be in such a format where the customers can add their opinions.
Once you get feedback from your customers based on the survey, ensure that you close the loop by taking follow-ups. When your customers know that their opinions are valued, they are more likely to trust you more.
Once you have made changes based on the feedback from your customers, let them know that you have made the recommended changes.
They will be more likely to respond to you the next time around as well. You gain customer trust and loyalty through such an action. Once you have that combination, your business will flourish.
A Few Bonus Tips for gaining Customer Trust
- Be predictable. Be boring! Isn’t that counter-intuitive? What we meant by boring was that your customers should get the same top-notch experience every time they reach out to you. Businesses should keep their word. If a customer is promised that they will get the delivery on Friday, ensure that it does.
- Ensure a smooth transaction with you. At no point should the customers feel as if they are taking too much time than necessary to get things done. Try to reduce friction as much as possible. Ensure that anything that a customer needs, right from an upgrade or a new plan or closure of account- each of these things happen seamlessly.
- Do not use clickbait. A decade ago, clickbaits might have worked and was even the norm, an irritating one at that. But if you were to employ clickbait tactics now, your customers will shun you. It is frowned upon by everyone. Only businesses that aren’t honest and lack integrity use clickbait tactics these days.
- Offer a customer loyalty program. If you want to gain customer trust and improve retention rates and add a bunch of new customers regularly through referrals, a customer loyalty program is a great place to start. Offer incentives for customers to be a part of your loyalty program. There are different types of loyalty programs, find out the ones that your customers will appreciate and use them.
- Cultivate relationships with your customers. Your customer should not be just another number no matter how many of them you have. Treat them like an individual. Give them the respect they deserve, even if they are not paying customers.. Take care of their problems. Go out of your way to solve it.
For a customer, the only reason why they would be purchasing over and over from the same brand is because of the trust they have in them. If you want long-term customers, you should be able to command that kind of trust. Having trusting customers will make all the difference for your business.
You don’t have to do anything devious to make your customers trust you, the above six points that we have outlined is more than enough for your customers to fall in love with your brand.
Be as open with your customers as possible. Once your customers start to believe that there are no ulterior motives in your messaging or marketing strategy, they will be open to your offering.
Having a solid customer success team in place puts you in a position where your customers will always feel satisfied. Truth is the cornerstone of every relationship and you need to come across as a brand that is truthful to its customers.
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