Building Customer Trust Takes Effort, Keeping It Needs Commitment
Trust is a big word built on the little things – hard to earn, easy to break. And in business, building customer trust can be a deal-breaker.
A good reputation may win a company some new curious buyers, but trust will win their hearts, keeping them for the long term.
On the other hand, broken trust can lead to customers leaving, lost opportunities, and having to mount costly contingency measures.
A recent study by public relations firm Edelman shows that 81% of the customers say that the trust they have on the brand is one of the top deciding factors in buying a product or service.
“More than a logical undertaking, buying is an emotional experience, and trust is an emotion that is crucial in establishing a connection with the customer,” explained Roy Figueroa, Client Solutions Director at Emapta
And when it comes to building customer trust, Roy said it’s always about keeping tabs on everything, from the biggest to the smallest details of providing service, and most of all commitment.
1. Transparency is the best policy
In the age of fast-paced information, businesses should know that customers want to know everything they can about the product or service they intend to buy.
A 2016 survey by Havas showed 78% of consumers believe it is very important that companies are transparent with their products or services.
The same research showed 70% of consumers said they make it a point to learn more about the companies that own the products they buy.
Giving access to relevant information, like organisation profile, pricing, service delivery process, product reviews, and advocacies, can boost trust and confidence among the customers.
If you’re a financial company that uses customer data, you must be active in educating your customers about how you get, use, and protect this sensitive information.
Transparency also involves providing an avenue for people who want to ask for assistance with the product, which means establishing an efficient customer service unit.
“Customer service is important in establishing trust. With it, you’re basically telling customers that when something goes wrong, you’re not running away from them,” said Roy.
2. Be present, be reachable, be responsive
Today’s consumers are almost always mobile, multitasking, moving fluidly from one platform to another in a course of an hour, trying to make every second count.
Within those hours, some customers may feel the need to seek assistance with your product or service. When they do, you need to be there.
Whether the customers are on Facebook, at the office, outdoors, in transit, in a hotel, or just at home, there should always be a way to contact your support team.
Companies must be able to do some research on the demographics of their customers, where they usually are, and their preferred digital platforms. Wherever they are, your business should be there.
This could be easy, as many companies now have multiplatform customer service units, but the real challenge is being responsive round the clock.
Being responsive 24/7 can be a bit of a challenge, but not doing may result in losing customer trust that can have a domino effect, especially when the customer decides to share the problem on social media.
“There will always be problems. Internet providers, for example, can’t guarantee that connection will be good 100% of the time, but what they can guarantee is 100% responsiveness,” said Roy.
“We get frustrated when we lose the internet connection, but when we are not able to speak with someone about it, that’s when we go to social media and publicly condemn the company,” he added.
3. Deliver on the expectations
Whether it’s about fast delivery, exceptional packaging, or a personalised experience, companies must deliver on what they promise.
It may sound like a no brainer, but there are still many companies that fail to deliver on expectations due to a lack of strategic considerations.
Formulating a brand promise should involve tests and projections on possible customer response to avoid unexpected turnouts.
“Lots of businesses focus on sales, overlooking the importance of marketing. But you want to get that messaging right first because that’s where you’re able to connect with them,” said Roy.
Another mistake that some companies tend to commit is making huge promises with hidden terms and conditions.
When a company says they offer unlimited data plans, it should be “Unlimited,” and not “Unlimited” with an asterisk.
Baiting customers with such promises may win the attention of interested buyers, but upon discovering the hidden terms and conditions, they would likely turn away and they might never come back.
“Companies should be upfront with their promises. Less fine prints, more bold prints. Just be honest. Otherwise, they may end up going to the competitors,” said Roy.
4. Commitment and consistency
Earning customer trust is hard but keeping it could be more difficult because it requires commitment and consistency on the part of the organisation.
Being transparent, reachable, responsive, and reliable will amount to nothing if a company fails to deliver consistently.
Roy said companies must commit to “proactive” and “reactive” solutions and resources to sustain excellent service delivery.
Being “proactive” means ensuring that all the gaps and roles needed to deliver top-notch service night in, and night out are filled.
Having “reactive” resources means having a well-trained customer service team that you count on when the business needs to handle a crisis.
Many startups have trouble in implementing these solutions due to the lack of resources and scarcity of talent.
One good way to answer this problem is through partnering with an experienced outsourcing provider that offers flexible and customised services.
Outsourcing can give businesses access to a global talent pool that can fill the roles that they need to deliver exceptional service consistently.
And because outsourcing providers source talent from countries with lower costs of living and daily wages, businesses can build the teams they need without breaking the bank.
“Outsourcing is a very simple concept. The things you need, things you cannot pay for, or the things you cannot find because talent is scarce wherever you are – it’s here. We got it here,” said Roy.
Building customer trust is the foundation of a satisfying customer experience, and businesses that actively sustain this trust are the ones that end up lasting longer.