Five surefire ways to build trust with customers
It's time to put the customer first.
Customers want to do business with companies they can trust. How you treat customers matters, even in the moments when the actions you take seem small.
Here are five surefire ways to engender customer trust:
1 - Be Transparent and Communicate Clearly
Minimize legal disclaimers at the bottom of an ad or sales collateral. Simplify the packaging and pricing of your solutions. The goal here is not to be smarter than a fifth grader, but rather to make pricing and packaging so easy that a fifth grader can understand them. You should be able to explain product or service packaging and pricing in three or four sentences or statements.
2 - Listen to Understand
Building relationships with customers is like making good friends. You have to listen to them without trying to anticipate what they are going to say or using the conversation to build on your own personal agenda. In the case of your business, this agenda is selling your products and services. When you listen with an agenda you miss important information that is key to understanding a customer’s needs, their buying timeframe or the impact the business issues are having on them or their business. Listening with an agenda you hear only the facts that collectively support what you think is a customer’s need. In reality, this need may be very different, not just for this customer, but for others too!
3 - Keep Your Commitments and Respond Promptly
There is nothing worse to a customer than having someone they are working with say they will get back to them with an answer in a specific time frame then having them not follow through. Customers are especially sensitive to this when there is an issue. Each time you miss a commitment, you lose a customer’s trust. If you say you’ll respond in a specific time period, do it. If you don’t have a resolution for them in the timeframe you promised contact them and let them know where you are in solving the issue and when you do think it will be resolved.
Don’t over commit.You are much better off under promising and over delivering than you are promising a customer an expedient resolution and not delivering.
4 - When There is an Issue, Practice Empathy
Have you ever had a call with a customer service representative that went something like this: “I’m so sorry, your service is down, we just changed internet providers and our systems aren’t working as planned.”
Telling customers the cause for an issue is important, but it should never take precedence over correcting the issue you’ve caused for them. Many customers don’t care what is happening behind the scenes, they just want the product or service you offer them to work – without fail.
No business runs without problems. To ensure you are focused on resolving these issues to the delight of a customer ask this question first: How would you like to see this resolved? You may get some customers that respond with “don’t let it happen in the first place,” but what you’ll do is open the door to understanding the impact the issue is having to them or to their business. You may not be able to get the customer the requested “ideal” resolution, but gathering this information will tell you what they expect so you can build a better resolution to the issue.
5- Say Thank You
These two words are keys to personal and professional appreciation. As simple as saying “thank you” is to do, too often people forget it. Saying it is a sign of respect and appreciation. Customers that feel appreciated are more likely to be loyal to your business. Don’t forget to say thank you and train your team to make it a habit.
Follow these tips and you’ll be sure to delight your customers and increase their loyalty to your business. At the end of the day, building trust with customers is all about treating them the way you want to be treated. Treat your customers well and they will do the same to you.
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About the Author
Susan Galberaith is a product marketing professional focused on commercializing solutions to small and midsized businesses by connecting people to technologies that solve urgent business issues. As a marketing professional she enables sales teams to better understand how and when to best position products and services to customers. She also works with organizations to help them properly differentiate portfolios of solutions by telling stories about customer value in market. Susan holds a Masters of Liberal Arts in Communication Studies and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and an undergraduate degree from Drake University in Des Moines, IA. She is certified in Pragmatic Marketing.