Local businesses are faced with a mixed blessing when it comes to customers. Consumers today are extremely wary of big retailers and service providers, and it’s no wonder. Large brands have over-promised, under-delivered, and alienated customers with abrasive and unhelpful support year after year.
For this reason, many consumers are abandoning mega-chains in favor of small, regional merchants. This is great news for local business owners benefitting from an increase in revenue—but it’s not the only news. Unfortunately, most people still carry the scars of unpleasant past experiences with them, which creates an uphill battle for businesses who want to gain customers’ trust.
However, instilling trust is your brand isn’t impossible—and in fact, it isn’t really that complicated. Here are 4 simple ways you can grow consumers’ confidence that your business has their best interest at heart.
1. Be Transparent
Being transparent about your products, services, policies, and prices is one of the easiest things you can do to build trust with potential and current customers. When you’re creating marketing or advertising materials, it’s tempting to gild your offerings just a teeny bit to make them seem more appealing to your audience. Don’t give into this temptation! Trust me, being honest is way more appealing than hiding or twisting the truth to gain someone’s interest. Both you and the customer will be disappointed with the outcome in the latter scenario—and you’ll likely lose that person’s trust forever.
2. Show Integrity
You business has a personality and reputation just like an individual person does. That’s why it’s so important that every part of your business is operated with integrity—whether it’s paying your vendors on time, providing consistent pricing on your products and services, or refraining from talking trash about your competitors. You may not think certain actions have an impact on your customers’ perception of your business, but everything you do, both good and bad, can enter the public sphere and subsequently make an impression on prospects and current patrons. Conducting your business ethically and kindly isn’t just the nice thing to do—it’s the smart thing to do from a reputation perspective.
3. Provide a Consistent Experience
Think about your favorite restaurant. One of the things you probably appreciate about them is knowing that every time you order a meal, your food will be prepared with a consistent level of execution. After all, who wants to eat somewhere that’s fantastic one day and horrible the next?
The same goes for your business. If customers have a great service performed by one of your staff members, but a poor experience with another, they may start to doubt the overall trustworthiness of your business. This is true with products as well: If a patron buys one item that’s wonderful and another that falls flat, they may stop making retail purchases with you in the future. Make sure both your services and inventory are delivered with consistently high quality so that your customers know exactly what they’re getting for their money every time they make a purchase.
4. Solve Problems Quickly
I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times, but providing fantastic customer service can seriously set your business apart from the pack. If you address customer questions and complaints with efficiency, sympathy, and generosity, you’ll quickly secure consumers’ faith and win their loyalty for the long term. Conversely, treating service requests with apathy or hostility is a surefire way to lose someone’s trust.
The Bottom Line
The keys to building trust with your customers are the same as building trust in a personal relationship. Honesty, integrity, consistency, attentiveness, and helpfulness will all go a long way toward turning consumer mistrust into loyal faith in your business.
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