Building a company is about more than offering great products. It’s also about transforming yourself into an outfit that people can actually trust.
The way customers perceive you explains a large chunk of their reason for buying from you. If they know that they’re going to get a great service and that everything is above board, they’ll continue using you. If they don’t, then they won’t.
The trick for business, therefore, is to look for ways to build trust. But how do you do this well?
Be More Willing To Answer Questions
There are a lot of brands out there who are either unable or unwilling to answer their customers’ questions. And it’s hurting them. That’s because customers expect you to know what you’re talking about when it comes to questions to do with their products. If you don’t, it comes across as unprofessional and, frankly, a little strange.
These days, there are many possible ways for customers to get in touch with your firm. These include social media, telephone and video calls.
Customer service reps on these channels should have two rules:
- To always answer questions
- And to answer them honestly
Unfortunately, many firms leave their colleagues in the dark as to how they should respond when a customer calls. And that’s when trouble can start.
Reps need your authority to provide customers with honest answers, even if it depicts your company in a negative light. As a boss, this can be hard to accept. And if you have made genuine errors, it makes you look bad. Long-term, though, it strengthens your brand image.
Remember, customers are sophisticated people. Usually, they can tell if you’re massaging the truth. By contrast, if you’re just straightforward and frank with them, then they are much more likely to recommend you to others, even if you had to deliver disappointing news.
Put Your Company Culture On Display
A lot of brands hide behind closed doors, keeping customers well away from where their work takes place. In one way, this approach can be a good thing. It allows the enterprise to produce seemingly-magical results, without the customer even seeing how it’s really done.
But on another level, it can be a little alienating.
The best approach, therefore, is to put the company culture on display somehow. If you have casual Fridays, then talk about it on your social media channel. Likewise, if you dress up at certain times at the year or have specific office practices, then publicise it.
This type of outreach helps to humanize you and your team. The more that people can really see what you’re like as a group of people, the less suspicious they will be of you. They know instinctively that the dry seriousness of most corporations is bogus.
Offer Extra Value
Customers are sometimes suspicious that companies are trying to sell them short. That’s why it’s a good idea to offer extra value where possible.
As a customer, you’ve almost certainly experienced the idea of offering extra value yourself. For instance, whenever you walk into a perfume store, you can try a free sample. Or when you order a delivery of food online, the company might throw in an extra for you at no cost.
If you’re a B2B company, you can do other things to add value, like get certification showing that you are a competent outfit. Click here for more info.
The basic idea is to get accreditations that show that you’re up to date with cybersecurity, privacy and processing integrity. If you can demonstrate this, it shows your clients that you take their security and integrity seriously and gives you an edge on the competition.
You can also try other things, such as offering a money-back guarantee to customers who aren’t satisfied with your services. This way, they are much more likely to choose you in the first place. Please note, though, that if you do offer money back, you’ll have to follow through. Otherwise, you may damage trust levels in your brand.
Add Social Proof
In the modern world of marketing, social proof is becoming increasingly valuable to both customers and businesses alike. Posting reviews allows prospects to read about what your clients thought about your brand.
You can post testimonials on your website, social media and third-party sites.
If you use review scores, be sure to use the services of a provider who has nothing to do with you as a business, such as TrustPilot or Google.
Reviews speak for themselves. Prospects know that they can trust them because they came from regular customers, not your marketing department. They tell customers what people honestly thought about your services and provide critical information about whether they should use them.
As a business, you shouldn’t be afraid of negative feedback. It’s something that all reasonable customers expect. And it shows that you’re not trying to hide anything either. Again, this builds trust.
Team Up With A Trusted Brand
If your business is relatively new, you don’t have to go it alone. Instead, you can partner with a company that’s already known for being trustworthy. This way, you can cash in on their brand cachet.
Think about it – if a trusted company chooses to work with your brand, it shows that they are willing to trust you. And if they will trust you, then so too should your customers.
Please note, though, that you usually only have one chance to make it work with a trusted brand. If you mistreat their customers or do something dishonest, they may not invite you back.
Keep Your Promises
How many companies make big announcements about new developments but fail to deliver? The answer is a lot. And while you might be able to get away with it a couple of times, doing it over and over again will eventually lead to customers going elsewhere.
Always be realistic about what you can achieve in a given time frame. If you can’t land your customers on Mars by 2024, don’t tell them that you can in your marketing presentations.
Whatever you do, don’t deceive your customers on what you can deliver for them. If you do, they’ll leave you for other brands that they can trust more.
Make The Experience Consistent
Marketing gurus talk about the importance of being consistent all the time, but it really works.
Think about it. If customers experience something different every time they interact with your business, they are going to start mistrusting you. And if they find out that you gave them a different level of service from somebody else receiving the same product, they will be even more annoyed.
The key is to recognize that consistent experiences help to generate trust in your brand. When customers know what they are going to get, there are no nasty surprises.
Listen To What They Say
Lastly, provide customers with opportunities to give you feedback and really listen to what they say. Doing this allows them to air their grievances and essentially get stuff off their chests.
When you spend enough time listening to your customers, you can often figure out what they need. Is there an issue with brand trustworthiness? Is there a problem with your products themselves? Is there an issue with your customer service?
Once you get feedback, be sure to implement it, especially if a large number of customers are saying the same thing. This type of action shows that you take their criticisms seriously and that you’re willing to act on their recommendations. Once you take action, tell them what you’ve done to improve things.