We all want to establish trust with customers, but the old adage “It’s easier said than done” definitely applies here. Establishing trust with friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors isn’t that difficult – after all, you see them often, know them well, and share a wealth of information about yourself with them.
It’s harder to establish trust with customers because there are professional constraints that keep you from knowing your customers the same way you know your friends and coworkers. All you have to work with are your brand’s values, customer service, and reputation.
Here’s how you can use those things to establish trust with customers.
How to Establish Trust with Customers
Back up your brand values.
Establishing trust with customers is easier when you’re standing by your brand values. Many a business has lost important customer trust by being dishonest about brand principles and values. One prime example is Richard Edelman, the CEO and founder of Edelman, the world’s largest private PR company.
While championing energy efficiency and proclaiming the importance of taking measures to counter climate change, it was revealed that he was handling the accounts of coal companies and climate change deniers. Even after sincere apologies, it was disastrous for his business, which took years to recover due to loss of customer trust and damaged reputation.
If you’re going to talk about your brand’s values, make sure you’re backing them up. It’s one way to build customer trust.
Don’t avoid negative reviews or complaints.
It’s easy to respond to 5 star reviews and glowing recommendations of your company. “Thanks for your review! We’re so happy you’re finding our product useful.” It’s harder to respond to negative reviews or complaints about your company. Some companies see responding to these types of comments as admitting that they were wrong and are reluctant to do so. Don’t be those companies.
Be humble and meek in your responses to negative reviews and complaints about your business. The customer may not always be right, but unless you’re willing to hear their side of the story and correct any wrong you may have committed, you won’t earn your customers’ trust.
Go above and beyond with customer service.
Your customer service is one of the best ways to work on building customer trust. This is the arm of your company that deals directly with the consumer – when they’re happy, when they have questions, and when they’re upset. Each interaction you have with customers is an opportunity to stand by your brand values and establish trust with customers.
If you’re missing and failing to return phone calls, sending calls to offshore call centers, providing only one or two customer service channels, or taking a defensive approach to complaints, you’re not building trust – you’re destroying it.
Collaborate with influencers.
The final way we recommend you build trust with customers is by collaborating with influencers. Influencers are already trusted by your audience, so by teaming up with them, you will be more likely to earn the trust of your customers. We regularly do campaigns with influencers that our audience is familiar with, like Shep Hyken, ConsumerAffairs, and Quicken.
You can implement similar tactics by finding industry influencers that your customers already trust. Start with Twitter, commenting on blogs, even reaching out directly via email – get in touch with people that your audience knows to help them get to know you better.