Building and retaining customer loyalty is one of the fundamental conditions for a successful business. Not only does it guarantee regular sales, but it also helps to passively increase client portfolio through highly effective word of mouth. Given that both brand trust and customer satisfaction show a steep downward trend so creating a reliable and trustworthy image of your business is becoming more urgent than ever.
Did you know that – in the long run – it is much more cost-effective to invest in customer retention rather than to constantly chase new ones? Promoting brand loyalty towards your products or services is the best strategy to grow in a more competitive market.
The question is: How to earn customer trust? Here are some basic tips you should keep in mind.
- Make “Customers before Profits” your strategy
It surely doesn’t need any convincing to say that your clients are the core of your business, which is why you should make sure your whole company turns around them. Give customers what they want at all times and in every aspect: packaging, delivery, post-sales delivery, payment methods, just to name a few.
Have you trained your customer service staff always to be there if a client needs support or assistance? Great, but it is not enough. If you want your brand to really stand out, a customer-centric approach is imperative for all the people who work for you, even those who don’t have direct contact with sales and post-sales services.
Before making any decision or change (financial, technical, logistical, etc.), each area of your company should consider what impact it will have on the customers and always act with their interest in mind.
- Build trust through customer service
Ask yourself how you would like to be treated if you were a client in your own company. Surely you’d appreciate readily available, multi-channel, and free of charge ways to get in touch, wouldn’t you? For a customer, being able to reach the seller is one of the essential elements of trust.
Once a customer reaches out to you – either with an inquiry or a complaint – your task is to ensure he or she will get the attention they deserve and the information they request. Train your customer service staff to be knowledgeable about every aspect of the product or service your company offers. Make sure they provide consistent and true answers and establish accurate and reasonable expectations. Prepare them to deal not only with the most common situations but also with the unexpected and hard ones. A professional and hands-on customer service officer is indispensable for a trustworthy brand.
Once again, put yourself in customer shoes: would you stick with a brand that treats you like just another one of a crowd? Of course, you wouldn’t. Everybody likes to know they are appreciated and treated with due engagement and attention to their individual needs. If not, chances are your clients turn to your competitors.
- Transparency always pays off
According to the Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report on Brand Trust, a common worry among American consumers is what happens to the personal data they hand to companies. They are also concerned about the ways brands use technology and track their movements.
The survey mentioned above reveals an acute need for greater transparency in the way brands run their businesses. A customer who has been lied to, who is suspicious about how you handle sensitive information, who has been tempted by a special offer only to find its mouseprint conditions later on – this customer will go away from your brand and look elsewhere.
You can’t afford to lose clients, can you? Being transparent will help you keep them and build their trust. Here are a few tips to have in mind:
# Describe your products or services in a way that shows their real and unexaggerated qualities.
# Make sure that your prices, conditions, and requirements are visible to the customer.
# Stay away from misleading offers and deals.
# Train your sales and customer service force to provide accurate information regarding pricing, shipping fees, return policy, etc.
# Handle customer personal data with transparency.
Considering that more and more business nowadays happens online, it is also highly advisable to invest in cybersecurity. Data breaches or unsafe payment parameters can greatly affect your reputation and have your clients run away in fear.
One of the best ways to deal with cyber threats is to encourage customers to use a VPN connection and ensure one for your employees as well. What is a VPN? This cybersecurity tool has many benefits of working in a risk-free cyber environment. It secures your connection and keeps valuable data safe.
- Encourage client testimonials and reviews
Everybody likes to know their opinion matters, don’t we? By staying in touch with your customers, asking them to respond to surveys, offering room for their suggestions and criticism, you are allowing yourself to improve.
No matter how wonderful YOU say your product is, people will always perceive it as marketing and take it with a pinch of salt. If you want to attract new customers and build trust in your brand, get help from the people who are already buying from you.
Customers trust other customers more than they trust brands – it’s as simple as that. Use it to your advantage by encouraging client testimonials on your website and adding their reviews to your product pages. Word of mouth works wonders – and you are bound to see it in your bottom line.
Listen to what your customers say and implement their most useful tips.
- Invest in a loyalty program
When choosing between one brand or another, more than one consumer will think: “What do I get for my loyalty?”. In the ever-competitive market, offering ONLY a good quality product or service is not enough anymore.
This is where a loyalty program comes in: by signing up and making repeat purchases, the customer gets access to benefits they would not obtain otherwise. Discounts, free bonuses or coupons, early access to special deals and promotions, loyalty points that can be exchanged for a product, lower shipping costs – you name it!
Loyalty programs help to improve the overall customer experience and make them feel valued and appreciated. Perhaps it is time for your business to invest in one.
Having people trust your brand does not happen overnight. It requires effort, persistence, and faith. But it does pay off in the end and ensures a real advantage and a long life business.
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