You definitely need to build customers’ trust if you’re thinking about scaling your business long-termIt’s no myth that people buy from people they trust. So, as a business owner, one of your top priorities should be to steer your customers’ trust and satisfaction.
Because people usually have reservations about who they trust, one has to be fully worthy to receive it. Not just that, the trustworthiness has to be sustained, else all trust built will be lost. One other interesting thing is that people have different reasons for building trust in others, hence the act of trustworthiness can’t even be faked.
As an individual, honesty is what sparks trust in me for others. Another person will have a different preference. As such, a business owner needs to be as people-oriented as possible. When you generally act with courtesy and put client’s satisfaction first, your customers will naturally give you their trust.
Follow these 8 practical ways business owners can build customer’s trust:
1. Deliver Good Products/Services.
Good products/services never fail to attract customers and make them trust your business. Delivering quality is almost equivalent to your business advertising itself because people will talk. As customers enjoy having the best, it’s natural for them to want to tell others about their experience. In many online platforms, business reviews spark conversations all the time. It’s best if your business ends up on the good side of these conversations. So, aim to deliver quality. It’s also not a bad idea to overdeliver once in a while. However, do not do this too often, as you could elevate expectations that you may not be able to meet in the long run. So, what’s the best practice for delivering good products/services?
- Make sure your products are in good condition before purchase and delivery
- Clearly state terms and conditions while delivering service so there are no misunderstandings
- Adjust price to match quality
2. Practice Good Customer Service.
We have all seen many screenshots of small business owners talking rudely to their clients. It pains me that people don’t seem to realize the exact power customer service holds. Whatever your business offers, service or product, you need to interact with your customers at some point. So, why do so rudely? Hardly makes sense.
Good customer service involves many courteous habits. I’ll say the top one is treating your clients like people, not money-ventures. So, when a potential client tells you that they cannot afford your price, for instance, politely ask for their budget. If it does not suit your price range, it’s fine to politely decline. For good measures, you could suggest an alternative to them or even promise to hit them up if you get something within their range. Don’t forget to keep to this promise, or at least give feedback if nothing comes up. Trust this, people will appreciate such a gesture.
The tip here is to value your customers as people with needs and try to meet those needs. Small business owners need good customer service to gain customer’s trust. Nevertheless, with business booming, it is understandable that one might not have sufficient time to adequately speak to customers. Hence, if you need to employ a customer relations officer, do so. If you cannot afford this yet, practice dedicating a few minutes throughout the day to respond to customers’ messages. Also, get familiar with important customer service skills. Here are some tips:
- Connect with them. Find the core of their need and base your conversations on that
- Take note of events like birthdays and send wishes
- Give feedback on something if you think they expect to hear from you
3. Respect Cutomers’ Time.
People’s time basically makes up their entire day. So, even if your business is causing ‘just’ a five minutes delay, that’s a chunk of a day that can never be regained. It’s doubtful that anyone would appreciate that if it drags on for too long. As much as possible, eliminate any possible delay agents and don’t keep your customer waiting at all. Not respecting your customer’s time could also make you lose them. Also, you could lose potential customers through reviews. Here are some things you can do to respect customers’ time to build trust:
- Activate an automatic response on online platforms like Whatapp for when you’re not readily available.
- Ask for their availability when setting up appointments
- Start and end at the agreed time
4. Share Knowledge.
One effective way to gain customers’ trust is by letting them know you know exactly what you are doing and how to do it. Customers want to be assured that they are in the good hands of an expert. Truthfully, it could even be the topic of their next discussion with their friends.
Let me give you a scenario. Skincare is in the rave these days, and you happen to be a skincare expert. Well, so are hundreds of other people in your neighborhood. Since it’s pretty hard for people to know what product works for them, you work up a strategy to give skincare tips online and do personalized consultation. That’s pretty simple, yet could save skincare newbies thousands of Naira spent on trying out different products in their quest to find which one works best.
Reading this, I am already considering that your products might be worth a try. And if your recommendations work well, you have my trust. I’ll also be confident to recommend you to people who will definitely see the results. If you are a barber, hairdresser, mechanic, wedding planner, tailor, etc, sharing knowledge and assuring your clients that you know what exactly will meet their needs is a sure way to gain their trust. Here are ways you can share knowledge to build customers’ trust:
- Link the platforms you share useful tips on to your website
- Create graphics or video tips
- Use social media effectively
5. Acknowledge Customers’ Feedback.
Remember that your clients are people that want to be heard. So, whether the matter your client brings up is trivial or super important, make the human with emotions feel heard. Politely ask for clarification if you do not understand. If you’re not speaking physically, you could also encourage them to send pictures or voice notes just to get a perfect understanding of the problem.
Customers could also give advice that would range from absolutely sweet to borderline rude. You can give a simple, “Thanks for your feedback” response. However, if publicly given feedback is untrue and damaging to your reputation, it might be a good idea to delete such comments (if you can) or set things straight. The best way to achieve this is to state facts, and not by directly countering what has been said. People are watching/listening, so be strategic, else you could lose customers trust. Here’s how to acknowledge your feedback to build trust with your customers:
- Ask for feedback
- Let people see what others are saying about your business
- Note that negative feedback about your business is usually not a personal attack on you
6. Admit Your Specialisations
This is basically you niching on a group of particular skills you exceptional at. You can’t be a jack of all trades. You shouldn’t even try to be, as no one trusts a person/business that claims to do it all. Imagine a drug that cures all types of illnesses. Doesn’t exist, right?
I get that the reason many business owners will claim to be skilled in what they are not is the fear of losing customers. However, you’ll do doing exactly that if you fail to deliver well on what you have claimed to be able to do. About admitting your specifications to build customers’ trust:
- Don’t go overboard with promises
- People trust specialist, so it’s an advantage if you build your expertise around a few things
- It’s okay to turn down jobs you can’t do
7. Keep Your Word: the cornerstone to Build Customers’ Trust.
A customer paying for service expects it to be done perfectly and within the agreed timeframe. It will cause a dent in the reputation of a business and its owner if the client’s expectation is met with disappointment. Also, if the action is repeated, it is much worse. As such, you as a business owner should only make time and delivery promises that you can keep. You should also be courteous enough to tell your clients about unprecedented occurrences that might delay delivery ahead of time.
- Clearly state the timeframe for product/service delivery so there is no misunderstanding
- If possible, have a contract to manage clients’ expectations
- Communicate with the client anything that can infringe on proper delivery
8. Build An Online Presence to Build Customers’ Trust
In this internet age, you’re definitely doing something wrong if you do not have an online presence for your business. When people hear about a business these days, one of the first things they do is Google it. The funny thing is that suggestions of businesses like the one they searched will be presented to them if their online presence is not well optimized to search engines…. or worse, it doesn’t even have an online presence at all. Quite horrific, if you ask me. It goes without saying that putting your business online has become a necessity for customers to verify the legitimacy of your business. That’s one key way you could build customers’ trust. You can build your online presence by:
- Creating a website for your business
- Regularly updating your social media pages
- Being active on online forums like Nairaland, Quora, and Reddit
Remember that your customers are one of the pillars of your business. It will pay you to treat them well. Also, take note of other aspects of your business identity.