What efforts do you take to build trust with your customers? Building solid, trusting relationships with your customer base is one of the best ways to retain them. In fact, News Cred’s recent study revealed that among millennials, the top three brand loyalty drivers include a great product (77%), followed by brand recognition (69%) and trust (69%).
Research also shows that retaining customers is much cheaper than acquiring new ones. The longer a customer is loyal to a brand, the more money they spend. What does that mean for your bottom line? According to a study cited by Retention Science, increasing customer retention by just 5 percent increases profits by 25-95 percent.
Needless to say, building trust with your customers is a worthwhile and profitable endeavor.
Here are four ways to build trust with your audience:
1. Communicate with customers on a regular basis
Communications with your customer base should not revolve solely around purchasing. If customers feel like every communication is a sales push, before long, your attempts to connect will get ignored and you’ll dash any hope of building trust.
Instead, communicate with your customers on a regular basis. Consider emailing a regular newsletter, sharing links to helpful articles on your social media channels or providing how-to articles on your blog. Customers appreciate useful information that makes their day a little better.
For example, if you run a fast casual restaurant, create a monthly newsletter to highlights upcoming menu items and introduce new staff. If you run a cleaning company, share an article containing tips to clean up nail polish or general organizing or stain removing hacks. Be intentional with your communication. If customers hear from you with useful tips, product updates, relevant market research, etc… on a regular basis, your occasional promotional email won’t feel out of place. It’s just another message from a friend.
2. Provide quality customer service in your store
One of the best ways to gain trust is to offer your customers service they can’t find anywhere else. Here’s a quick checklist to make sure your service inside your store is top-notch:
- Make sure your staff is friendly.
- Create a welcoming environment that keeps customers coming back.
- Train employees to nurture your customer relationships. Don’t assume employees know how to interact with your audience, show them.
- Collect and use feedback. Ask your customers to provide feedback and use it to implement changes that can improve their experience. Collect feedback in store and online.
- Show gratitude. Make sure your customers know that you appreciate them. Send exclusive deals to your most valued customers, host a customer appreciation event and set up a loyalty program that rewards your customers for their continued support.
3. Consider providing customer support on social
With so many of your customers being on social media, using these platforms to offer service and support is quickly catching on. Xbox, a popular gaming system company, offers customer support through Twitter. Customers can tweet questions and get live help. It’s so popular that Xbox has created multiple accounts to manage the traffic.
If you plan to offer support on social channels there are a few tools that can help. ZenDesk, for example, offers software that manages customers’ requests and creates a self-help arena for customers to troubleshoot issues on their own. Desk.com is another option. It creates a universal inbox where you can help your customers through social sites like Facebook and Twitter all from one dashboard. Your online service should compliment your service efforts in store.
4. Own up to mistakes
Customers reward companies that are honest and transparent. If you make a mistake, own up to it. Whether you missed a service appointment or have products on back order, it’s important to communicate any issues or delays with those customers.
As soon as you’re aware of a problem, reach out. For example, when Adorama fell short on cameras, an email was sent to explain that the item was on backorder. The company apologized for the wait and offered additional relevant information like how to cancel an order.
Mistakes happen. Research shows 95% of complaining customers will forgive a company if a problem is resolved in the next interaction. So, in addition to being honest, you also need to act quickly. Customers expect swift solutions.
How do you build trust with your customers? Feel free to share any additional strategies or tips.