Your product or service is now second to the trust your customer has in you. Starting in 2012 and every year since, the Edelman Trust Barometer findings clearly show that trust in a company in more important to consumers than product or service quality. Certainly, this does not mean that you lower quality – it means that you have to find ways for consumers to trust you personally, your brand, and your commitment to them.
Consumers have become quite savvy and they know insincerity when they read or see it, and they will walk away no matter how great your product/service may be.
Here are 5 things that you can commit to right now that will establish trust and credibility, keep your brand in demand, and cause others to recommend you.
1. Identify what is valuable to you and make sure you translate that to your own business practices.
For example, if, when you are a consumer, you value continued communication throughout the purchase and delivery process, then be certain that you set up that communication with your customers. You want verification of your order, you want to know when it has shipped (with a tracking number), and you want to know that you will be asked for feedback and that the feedback will be “heard.”
2. Identify the ways to market your authenticity and trustworthiness
More than anything else, you will need to develop relationships with your consumer base. You will do this by continued posting to your blog and by a huge social media presence, so that customers and potential customers get to know you, and so that you get to know them. Be personal, entertaining, and humorous; give your customer base methods to interact with you and with one another. You are building a type of “family” here, and you want to be ever expanding.
3. Make sure your payment methods are safe
With cybercrime on the rise and constantly finding new forms, you shouldn’t save on various security measures. If you are not using SSL connection yet for checkouts, it’s a high time to implement it and win trust of those customers, who fear about the credit card data. Make sure you mention that your payment method is PCI compliant and you do not store your users’ sensitive data, especially CVV2 codes.
If you are accepting cash payments as well, make sure you have the necessary equipment in your office including a counterfeit money detector and money counter to protect both your clients and your business from any possible financial issues.
4. Be forever consistent with what you tell people and with your business practices.
Nothing is worse than for customers to see you changing the “rules” whimsically, or contradicting something that you included in an earlier post or on your Facebook page – credibility gone! And a part of this consistency means that you will always deliver on your promises.
5. Set very specific parameters as your grow.
Many business failures have occurred because entrepreneurs were talked into a more rapid expansion than they really could tolerate and still keep their customer relationships strong. You can never compromise your initial values in favor of rapid expansion and more profit. What made you successful was your complete credibility and commitment to customers. That can all be destroyed very quickly.
6. Respond, respond, and respond some more
You should have multiple ways for customers and potential customers to contact you with questions, concerns, suggestions, and complaints. Even when the news is good, you must respond to each contact. If you have become too busy to handle it yourself, then hire someone to do it. That personal touch is what brought you to the dance; continued personal touch will keep you rocking all night long.