As a business owner, you know the importance of customer acquisition and retention. But these things don’t just happen automatically; you need to establish trust first. It’s just like any other human relationship – trust is based on the expectations for both parties, and meeting or exceeding those expectations will result in a stronger relationship.
With a stronger customer relationship, you’ll have more satisfied customers and a successful business.
Why customer trust is so important
There is a direct correlation between customer trust and your business’s customer acquisition and retention rates. One survey found that, when customers trust a business, 82% will continue to frequent that business, and 83% will recommend it to others.
Those high numbers are indicative of a reliable customer base that your business can thrive on, so you can see why it’s so important for your customers to trust your business.
What factors into customer trust?
The same study mentioned above describes six factors that help customers create their own perceptions of businesses. These perceptions are then used by customers to decide if they will trust a business or not. The six factors are:
- Stability – The business must have a track record of favorable past performances or positive customer experiences
- Innovation – The business must constantly develop and innovate itself to keep up with ever-changing customer expectations
- Relationship – The business must make the effort to create and maintain a relationship with its customers
- Benefit – The business must provide practical value to its customers
- Vision – The business has a clear goal or values that the customer finds agreeable
- Competence – The business is managed effectively, and is competent in the services or products it provides
Building customer trust
Earning your customers’ trust will not happen instantaneously. As mentioned previously, it’s just like a regular human relationship – it takes time to grow, and you have to prove that you are worthy of your customers’ trust.
However, in addition to exemplifying the six factors above, there are a few ways to demonstrate to your customers that you are worthy of their trust:
Provide excellent customer service
Show your customers that you value them by providing them with the same level of attention and care, whether they are in the pre-purchase, purchase, or post-purchase stage.
Establish patterns in the way you treat your customers, your available products or services, and the way your business is run. That way, your customers will know what to expect whenever they patron your business.
Communicate with your customers about anything notable at your business, such as new products or services, discontinued products or services, or any other changes they might see at your business. Inform your customers if there are any ongoing issues rather than ignoring it, as that could damage the relationship.
Using technology to build trust
In the digital age, it is especially important to consider how technology might affect your customers’ trust in your business. Here are a few things to consider:
Encourage customers to leave online reviews of your business to show them that you value their opinions. Positive reviews demonstrate a great experience and are encouraging to others, while negative reviews show you what improvements need to be made to gain their trust.
Even if you don’t sell online, a website serves to further legitimize your business and provide information to interested customers.
Improve your customer service and therefore your customer relationships by offering self-service as an alternative to checking out with an employee. Customers can use it at their own convenience, and information about their preferences and frustrations is stored in a database with contact information so that you can personalize each experience and communicate with your customers.
Maintaining good customer relationships by instilling trust is essential to the success of your business. A high level of trust can result in higher customer acquisition and retention rates, and therefore higher revenue for your business. There are multiple ways to build customer trust at your business and online, and all must be taken into consideration to improve customer relationships.