If you have a business or you’re planning on setting one up, you may already know that a successful company is not only about having a quality service or product, but also about gaining the trust of your customers. In fact, this aspect may even be more important than the actual product you’re selling or the service you’re offering.
Once you’ve won your customers’ trust and loyalty, they will come back again and again, and they are likely to be your customers for life. Lose their trust, however, and they will not only never come back, but they might actually put their people off your business, as well. Therefore, let’s talk about the top tips for gaining customer trust.
1. Plan effectively
Business planning is number 1 on this list because it’s the very first step you need to take, before your company even exists. In order to build something that will be successful and will stand the test of time, you need to make a solid business plan from the very beginning.
That includes organisation, financing, timelines, rolling out products or services, marketing – essentially, every single part of a business needs to be planned, down to the last detail, especially the financial aspects. That way, you ensure that you will be running smoothly from the very beginning and you won’t encounter problems further down the road.
Customers will appreciate a business that operates smoothly and doesn’t get caught up in minor mistakes and rooky setbacks, so you will be reaping the rewards pretty soon after you open your doors. Planning is professional, and it’s trustworthy.
2. Rent an office, and make it welcoming
It’s true that everything happens online nowadays, but what you’re targeting is customer trust, what you need to be focusing on is a physical presence, and that means a brick-and-mortar store or headquarters. People are much more likely to trust something they can see, feel, and experience themselves. Especially if they’re coming to you with a problem, putting a face to the name of the person helping them will help make them feel reassured and confident in your abilities, as a business, to meet their needs and requirements.
So, you need an office rental. That doesn’t mean any old office will do, of course. It needs to be properly decorated and customer-ready, even when your business is not customer-facing. A well put-together space that looks expensive creates the impression of professionalism and success. Decorum plays a big part of that, so make sure employees are properly attired and that they look professional.
You won’t believe what a difference it can make for customers to have a physical space they can come to in order to actually see and experience your work and your business. Think of any time you’ve shopped online – are you more likely to trust a random website you’ve never heard of, or the online page of a company that you can actually see in person?
3. Have the correct customer service procedures in place
I shouldn’t need to tell you this, but customer service is a massive part of any business’ success and you need to take it extremely seriously. We’ve all seen business giants fail because of customer service blunders, so go forward with the knowledge that it’s even more important for small businesses to have everything properly put into place. That is why you need to make sure that you have all the appropriate customer service procedures in place.
- Know your customer base
The first thing to be aware of is who your customer is. You need to research who is buying your product or service, what they want, how much money they make, and what they’re willing to pay.
- Respect your customers
It should go without saying that respect towards customers is paramount. From the way you design your business and down to the way every employee addresses your customers, they need to show respect. Yes, that includes when a customer is yelling at you on the phone. Practice that customer service smile!
- Meet your customers’ needs
Part of knowing your customer is knowing their needs, anticipating their needs, and meeting their needs. In fact, make sure you meet needs they didn’t even know existed. That is how you attract them and keep them.
- Ensure customer satisfaction
“The customer is always right” was not made up by mistake. Customer satisfaction is the most important thing in your business, because it’s what keeps the lights on and the business going. Never allow a customer to walk away unsatisfied, because they are not likely to come back.
4. Follow Data Protection Law
In this day and age, a massive amount of our personal information lives online. Think about it – from your email address to your social media pages to the employee records at work and down to the financial and personal information you share with every single online store you shop at, there is enough data online to seriously affect you, should someone with nefarious intentions get their hands on it.
Data protection is a big deal not just from a customer trust point of view, but also from a legal point of view. In short, if you’re a company processing or otherwise dealing with data pertaining to EU residents, then you need to be respectful of GDPR, which will be coming into effect as of May 25th, after a transition period starting on the 27th of April 2016.
In conclusion, customer trust is a major part of your business that cannot be ignored. It is a massive component in your success as a company, and you need to know how you can attract customers by making them trust you. At the end of the day, you will realise it’s not about employing clever tactics and tricking your customers into trusting you – it comes naturally if you run an honest business that meets your customers’ needs and puts their safety, needs, and satisfaction first, like any successful business would.