By Kevin U.
Customers are the backbone of any business. Without customers, a business simply can’t survive. When prospects first approach your company, it’s typically in the best interest of the organization to treat them with respect. For better or worse, a business must build trust with their prospects, even those who never seem to buy anything. Why? Because bad customer service prompts customers to spread rumors about your business. And like it or not, word-of-mouth–especially in a social world–is what marketing is all about. It doesn’t matter how often a customer sees your gorgeous advertising or Google AdWords, when push comes to shove, customers overwhelmingly listen to a friend’s advice about their personal experiences.
It is essential to develop trust with your customers and prospects. The best way to do this is to find a way to interact with them in a meaningful way that reinforces trust. If you can find out what matters to your customers most, you can develop lasting relationships with your them.
But how do you build trust?
Like anything, start with the “Golden Rule” and treat them as you would like to be treated. If you offer to give them a specific level of service, don’t qualify it by saying, “Yeah, I know that is what we said, but this is what we meant to say.” Own your mistakes, give the customer what they pay for and above all, don’t ever go back on your word. Don’t promise the world when you know you can’t deliver and don’t overestimate your abilities. While it’s important to strive for excellence, it is always better to exceed customer expectations than to under-deliver.
Give ‘em something free!
Another great way to build trust is to give away something free. Everyone loves free stuff and people generally remember the person who gave it to them. Your business should find ways to give (proverbial) pony rides to kids, offer water to the community on hot summer days or sponsor a worthy charity event. There is a prominent company that specializes in banking and financial services. Do you know what they do? They sponsor marathons and give financial support to athletes. Potential customers then form a sense of trust for this company because they are helping to finance an event they enjoy. Do the same thing for your customers, find a way to earn their trust. Once you’ve earned their business, continue to be honest and meet and exceed their expectations with every transaction.