Trust is the solid foundation on which any relationship must be built – and the relationship between you and your customers is no exception. Customers won’t patronize your business once if they don’t trust you. Once you’ve earned your customers’ trust, it’s crucial to retain it. The trust your customers have in your business is just as fragile as the trust your friends, loved ones and romantic partners have in you as a person. Once broken, it can be impossible to repair.
So, how can you inspire your customers’ trust? You have to show them that you care about them as people and have their best interest at heart. You also have to prove that you can keep your promises and that you’re a person of integrity. From the moment your customers first become aware of your brand, they have to think of you and your brand as reliable and trustworthy.
Build Brand Awareness
The first step in winning the trust of your customers is to build brand awareness. Customers are far more likely to trust brands they recognize than ones they do not. Promotional items are a great way to build brand awareness and inspire trust in your customers. They serve as a constant reminder of your company and your products and help familiarize not only the customer you give them to, but also his or her family, friends and acquaintances with your business.
It’s important to make sure your promotional products are useful so your customer hangs on to them — promotional pens are great for this. You can also keep some promotional pens in the office so you’ll have them to offer existing customers who stop in. Your promotional products should be high-quality — offering a long-lasting, quality promotional pen reflects well on the quality of your products and services in general.
Keep Your Customers’ Best Interests at Heart
Don’t approach sales as if you’re trying to “win” something or put one over on your customer. Customers can sense that sort of attitude, and it makes them bolt. Treat your customer as if he or she were a friend. Don’t allow yourself to fall into the trap of believing that your product or service is definitely what the customer needs. It’s possible that another company’s product or service would better suit the customer’s needs, and if your customer senses you care about his or her best interests more than making the sale, he or she will be more likely to support your business — if not this time, then perhaps the next time he or she needs someone in your industry.
Customers can be forgiving of company mistakes and missteps, but only if they know exactly what’s going on. Whenever you make a mistake or experience a disruption, it’s important to be transparent about what’s happening. Keeping your customers up to date acknowledges their importance. It shows integrity and honesty and can mean the difference between customers staying loyal throughout a setback and bailing when the going gets tough. Now that customers can turn to the Internet to find out anything they need to know about a company, you can’t hide anything anyway, so you’re better off not even trying.
Treat Your Customers with Respect
No customer wants to be put on hold for half an hour or lodge a complaint only to have it ignored. It’s not enough to say you care about your customers’ time or their opinions; you have to act as though their time and opinions are valuable to you. Of course, they should be — your customers are the lifeblood of your business.
The best way to show your customers you value their opinions is to listen to their feedback. You can do this through comment cards, surveys or social media forums. Ask your customers what they think of your existing products and services, what changes they’d like to see and what new products would best serve them. Then — and this is the important part — use that feedback to actually make the changes your customers requested.
Keep Your Promises
Your customers will quickly flee if you fail to deliver on the promises you make. Of course you shouldn’t make a promise you can’t keep — that’s a no-brainer. But you may not have considered that your brand itself is a type of promise, too. If done right, your brand marketing strategy should have given your customer a certain set of expectations about what doing business with your company is like. When your customers’ experiences don’t live up to those expectations, they’re going to feel betrayed; their trust will evaporate and they’ll take their business elsewhere.
Trust in your company, your services and your products keeps your customers coming back again and again. Make sure you carefully nurture your customers’ trust, and protect it from anything that might do it harm. It’s your company’s most valuable asset.