Business Journals Leadership Trust is an invite-only network of influential business leaders, executives and entrepreneurs in your community. Original article posted here.
Trust is a critical aspect of building a strong and lasting business. It’s well documented that today’s consumers prefer to establish relationships with brands they share values with and trust.
To be successful, businesses need to focus on building trust and loyalty with their customers from the ground up. Below, 15 Business Journals Leadership Trust members share some strategies they use to establish strong relationships with customers from day one.
1. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
This adage is as applicable in business as it is anywhere else. Not following through on your brand’s promises is a deal-breaker for most. If your actions aren’t aligned with the communications you share, people will notice and quickly lose trust. – Tim Blakley, Invision
2. Actively listen to your customers.
Brand trust starts with active listening. Really understand what your customer needs and how you can help. Provide options to give customers a choice in the solution, and ensure your solution is consistently high-quality. Did you solve their problem? Evaluate the whole cycle and reengage in active listening to continually improve. Create shared pride between the company and the customer. – Sherine Khalil, Valor Compounding Pharmacy
3. Communicate promptly and clearly.
We pride ourselves on not being typical attorneys, and we try to avoid the problems that give attorneys a bad name. We respond to phone calls promptly, provide communication so clients know the status of matters and make sure clients have an expectation of costs before we start the work. A happy client is the best way to establish value. – James Rosenblatt, Rosenblatt Law Firm
4. Leverage trust signals across your digital platforms.
Make sure you are using trust signals as evidence points to build belief in your brand. Trust signals include everything from website trust badges such as the TrustedSite or Better Business Bureau seals to video testimonials and online reviews from your customer advocates. There is no substitute for third-party validation when it comes to buyer trust. – Scott Baradell, Idea Grove
5. Follow through on customer requests.
Building trust with customers is simple, yet so many salespeople don’t deliver. You simply need to follow up and do what you say you’re going to do. It is so important to follow through with your customers’ requests and to be transparent if you can’t deliver the product or service to their expectations. We are always honest about it if we can’t meet their expectations, which often still leads to a sale. – Eileen Venn, Mechanical Testing Inc.
6. Maintain transparency and regular communication.
Transparency is key to building trust in our business. Our team maintains a constant focus on each client with effective communication, proactive check-ins, respect and sharing information about our processes widely and transparently. We also provide each client with an annual technology roadmap to ensure that their short-term and long-term goals are consistently being achieved. – Chris Friel, VoDaVi Technologies
7. Be completely honest about mistakes.
Deliver 100% transparency. If you make a mistake or if something was done in error, communicate the situation as such. Don’t write a long thesis about what happened or how it happened. Be direct and explain what you are going to do — this should always be on top, not at the bottom. Learn what it means to be “bottom line up front.” – Gene Yoo, Resecurity, Inc.
8. Support their causes.
Sometimes your customers will ask you to support them. It could be a request for a donation to a charity that they are raising money for or for goods or volunteers for their events. That act of kindness may foster greater bonds of trust and friendship moving forward. – Keith Woods, KB Woods Public Relations
9. Always be available and responsive.
In this “now” economy, brands must respond to customers as and when they have a question. If a consumer is purchasing a product at 2 a.m. and has a question, be sure to have the resources/tech available to respond, even if it’s a bot sending some information related to your question. Responsiveness shows you care. – Parna Sarkar-Basu, Brand and Buzz Marketing
10. Be active on social media.
Being socially active helps in numerous ways. You build brand visibility, you appeal to more followers and looking at the followers you attract gives you a better sense of “who” your brand is. The more often that you expose this part of your brand, the quicker you will have the ability to build that trust. – Wesleyne Greer, Transformed Sales
11. Invest in CRM software.
Using a CRM system can lead to better relationships with prospects and current customers, which in turn grows your business. In our organization, the entire staff uses Salesforce to keep everyone on the same page. For example, if the client-partner invests in two of your services, then both of those departments can see every note made about the client’s preferences and choices. – Scott Scully, Abstrakt Marketing Group
12. Share reviews from other customers.
Consumers will almost always trust other consumers more than companies. Use your audience’s trust in other customers to your advantage by publishing reviews on your site. Hearing from other consumers will help prospective buyers trust your brand from the beginning. – Cody McLain, SupportNinja
13. Share where and how you support your personal passions.
Demonstrating where you invest your time is one key to building consumer trust. This allows your customers to see your commitment and highlights your passion not only as an entrepreneur but as a person. In my case, I am passionate about helping veterans and being an active member of the community. Getting involved allows me to establish connections and build strong relationships. – Jack Smith, Fortuna Business Management Consulting
14. Treat all clients with the same high level of care.
Starting off on the right foot with a potential client is the best way to have happy clients who stick around. Companies should treat potential, actual and former clients with the same high standard of service and care. – Brian Walters, Walters Gilbreath, PLLC
15. Build an image of accomplishment.
From day one, you have work on building an image of accomplishment. Customers will seek out a business that they hear is successful. One gets successful in earning the trust of clients by keeping what you do for them confidential. – Corine Prieto, Integrated Geophysics Corp.
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