In the times of social media and the rapid exchange of information, customer trust is hard earned but easily lost. Bad news spreads like wildfire, while a good reputation can take years to get out into the public consciousness.
However, for those who want to exploit the fertile land of customer loyalty, there are a vast range of tips and tricks that work for companies across all industries. In this article, we’ll explain how to gain customer trust — and keep it — through some processes and approaches that are much easier than you might think.
You can’t gain customer trust and confidence unless you know who your’re talking to. Mobilizing all your efforts and directing them at the wrong people will make them feel confused at best and scammed at worst.
Start off with buyer personas. Get your marketing and sales teams to contribute on a collaborative document and give your customer a name, hobbies, interests, and a job role. With these characteristics in mind, you can start to consider problems your user might face in life, and what issue they’ll need a product to solve.
Understanding your customers doesn’t simply end once you’ve launched your product. Taking every opportunity to deepen your relationship with your real-life customers is a tried and tested way for how to gain a customer’s trust. Whether it’s communication through newsletters, social media interaction or follow up and onboarding after a sale, the better you get to know each other, the more trust there is to go around.
The first active communication you can make when deciding on how to establish trust with a customer is through your branding. Never before has brand identity been so important. From an authentic backstory to fighting for the right social justice initiatives, creating a brand identity that chimes with your audience is paramount.
Start off with your values. It could be keeping your family business in the family, it could be giving back to nature, or it could be promoting local artists. Values, especially when transmitted in an authentic, transparent way, are a great way to gain customer trust.
You could then move on to a story for your company. This shows a human face to your business. Perhaps you’re two friends who started off in a bedroom and have made it to national level, or maybe your ecotourism company began after seeing polluted waterways. When people can identify with your story, they feel like they know you better, which is a great method for how to establish trust with a customer.
This might seem a bit self-evident, but it’s all-too easy to overlook. By working hard to make something that perfectly fits your customers’ needs, you’re taking a massive leap forward in the effort to gain customer trust.
As an example — mountaineering products. Customers want to know that when they buy from your brand, they’re getting something durable, practical, and maybe with a few well-researched extras to improve their experience. Yes, it takes time to achieve that kind of reputation, but once you’re there, word of mouth will do a lot of the heavy lifting for you.
So what can you do actively to build trust with a customer?
First, start with feedback. Collate it all together and see what you need to work on. Perhaps there’s nothing “wrong” with your product, it just doesn’t quite have the versatility your customers need. Alternatively, you could have a reputation-destroying defect that needs urgent attention.
The next step is to iterate. Try out new versions and test, test, test — with real-life customers would be preferable. The more effort your product team puts in at this stage, the easier it is to gain customer trust in the future.
With news flying around the world in a matter of seconds, secretive behavior and hidden intentions have no place in a company that wants to learn how to gain customer trust and confidence.
Transparency should be at the heart of everything you do as a business, from the specs of your product to your customer after care. It is an essential element of gaining trust and confidence which can be the deciding factor when a client has narrowed you down to their last two options.
One of the easiest transparency traps to fall into is over promising and under delivering. We’re sure you’re excited about your product, but if you deliver something that doesn’t do what you claim in your advertising, your customers will quickly turn elsewhere for something more reliable. On the flipside, customers want to tell their friends about trustworthy, transparent companies, so by tightening the ship, you get a free marketing stream!
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You might want to hold on for dear life to the five-star rating you’ve got from three reviews. But unfortunately, that’s not the world we live in. A better way to gain customer trust is to get the amount of reviews into the hundreds, even if that means dropping to a 4.7. Now, new customers know you’re genuine, you’ve been around the block, and (assuming the majority are positive), you’re reliable in what you do.
Asking for reviews that the whole world can see need not take up too much of your time either. With the right automation tools in place, you can ping out automatic emails after every purchase, giving your customers the opportunity to leave a review that adds to your collection.
Testimonials are among the most powerful ways for how to gain customer trust and confidence. They are proof of quality, put out there for the entire world to see. Splash your testimonials over social media and embed them on your website because they are among the most powerful marketing tools you could wish for.
Video testimonials can tell a story in ways that words alone simply can’t. You can gain customer trust by producing testimonials with people that your audience will relate to. And with everybody used to video calls these days, it’s easy to get testimonials from your customers even if they’re on the other side of the world. Simply arrange a time, set up a call and record their thoughts.
Luckily, if you’re not too hot on your video editing software, it doesn’t matter. Hyper-produced testimonials can often seem suspicious and fake, so authenticity is the name of the game. If your customers look like actors to you, they’ll look like actors to your potential clients.
Nothing produces an unhappy customer quite as easily as having them sit on hold, rapidly boiling up into a rage. But there are all kinds of customer service techniques and technologies you can use to gain customer trust and confidence.
Starting with the techniques — response time is top priority. Even if it is simply an automated email of acknowledgement, you need to let your customers know you’re there and you’re listening to them. Create structured workflows for your response too. You’ll help your team members to stay cool-headed if they have a guide, and you’ll be fair and consistent to whoever gets in touch with you.
When it comes to technology, a cloud-based CRM is high on the agenda. With records of all your customers available to all your customer service agents, it doesn’t matter who picks up the phone — they’re ready and waiting with as much personalized information about your client as is possible.
To provide a better service, more and more companies are turning to instant messenger widgets on their website as the core entry point for customer service queries. Rather than answering one phone call at a time, each individual on your team can handle multiple requests simultaneously, making each customer feel valued.
Even with a perfect product and the best customer service team in the world, mistakes will be made. And while you can take a lot of measures to prevent them, the important thing is that rectifying mistakes in a timely, satisfactory manner will help to regain customer trust and even improve your customer relationships.
Making up for mistakes is a far cry from shifting the blame and relinquishing responsibility. You must first apologize, show you understand, then lay out a plan for how you’re going to make things better. A replacement product, a discount on the next purchase, or a quick freebie are all quick, easy ways to solve an issue and leave your customer feeling grateful and satisfied.
But it’s not just one customer’s trust you can rebuild. You can request that a customer change their review or make a testimonial to reassure the wider public that you’re willing and able to make things better when they go wrong.
It’s great having top quality products out in the marketplace, but if people don’t know how to use them, your customers will feel cheated. On the plus side, step-by-step guides are incredibly easy to produce and can make an enormous difference when customers are ready to buy. How-to guides are a great way to gain customer trust, because your users know they’re getting the most out of your product.
Consider that well-known Swedish furniture company. Yes, they provide all the assembly instructions with your product, but you can also head to their website and get videos of how to assemble your goods. So next time someone who isn’t exactly gifted in the home improvements department is looking for a sofa, the confidence they’ll feel going for the furniture and meatballs seller’s item will play a major role in their decision making. And over time, helping people solve problems helps to build trust with a customer, which in turn leads to brand loyalty.
All the previous points help to gain customer trust, but keeping it at your high levels can be pretty tricky. This is the analytical part, where you dissect what is helping you gain and lose trust with your customers.
With CRM analytics, you can keep records of any feedback forms or suggestions for improvement, and extract common offenders into reports. Then it’s time to prioritize the next steps you need to take to maximize trust among your customers.
It’s no use making changes if you can’t measure their effect. Therefore, after you’ve upgraded your approach, send out net promoter scores to gauge your customer’s satisfaction with their service and the trust they have in you.
So now you’re equipped with a range of strategies for how to gain a customer’s trust — and to keep it that way. While many of these, such as creating a transparent culture, won’t change overnight, there is one thing you can do to get the ball rolling in a big way.
Part of gaining customer trust is organizing your team behind the scenes, and acquiring the right technology is a huge boost in that regard. From a cloud-based CRM and a customer service center to emails, live chats, and video calls, you can get everything all on one platform.
To see what all the fuss is about, sign up to Bitrix24 for free and start transforming your customers’ experience today.
Gaining customer trust takes a multipronged approach:
Continuously learning who your customers are.
Creating a quality product.
Providing excellent customer service.
Sharing reviews and testimonials publicly.