The UK economy is expected to contract over the next 12 months, according to the IMF. This will put many businesses, including those in Lancashire, in a difficult position.
While growing your customer base should always be a priority, in this tougher economic environment, it may be wise to focus on retaining your existing customers – and even, if possible, encouraging them to buy your products and services. more often.
But the key to retaining customers — and making them loyal advocates for your business and your brand — is consumer trust. So how do you gain consumer trust? This article provides an overview of some of the best ways to build trust between customers.
1. Build strong and highly personal relationships
Why do local businesses build better and deeper relationships with their customers? Because the company is usually run and operated by the same person, not by a faceless multinational. Often the same person or people have been running the business for a very long time.
This not only gives customers the opportunity to get acquainted with the people working at the company, but also to have conversations, share gossip and personal news, and even tell a weird joke. These relationships will often be very personal.
How can large companies learn from this? Think of all the different ways to showcase the fact that you’re not just a faceless brand, but rather a collection of hardworking and very unique people. This may mean featuring the stories of individual team members on your website to give your brand a face.
Alternatively, it can mean encouraging your team members to show some personal flair and personality when engaging with clients or clients. A number of companies have told their team members to “go all in on the work,” including their personal interests, life stories, and sense of humor.
Encourage team members to share their personalities with customers and connect with them beyond the simple business transaction.
2. Boost the visibility of your management team
As we have discussed, too often companies try to hide behind their brand name and brand image. Not only does this make it harder for customers to build relationships with businesses, but it can leave your business looking like a bloodless, characterless, and bland organization.
One of the best ways to build trust with customers is to give your organization a face. And, often, it has to start at the top. People are naturally interested in people who run companies, especially the big companies that we all buy on a day-to-day basis.
This is an opportunity for companies to stand out from the rest of the field by building the profile of their management team. It can be a particularly valuable exercise if these business leaders also become ambassadors of company values, showing how the company thinks and acts.
This is also supported by data. In fact, a recent study by leading PR agency Profile found that almost 70% of customers said they would prefer to buy from companies with recognized CEOs.
3. It all starts with customer service
When it comes to building consumer trust, it all starts (and often ends) with customer service. Trust between businesses and customers is built on a series of broken promises.
These promises may include that the company has the best interest of the customer in mind; that the company guarantees the quality of the products it sells; or that if something goes wrong, the company will take the problem seriously and try to fix it.
These promises are often put to the test when a customer contacts customer service. For example, a customer may return a product saying it doesn’t work, doesn’t do what they originally thought, or even just realized they didn’t actually want it. produced when he brought it home. .
These are critical times when a customer is assessing whether they can trust the company to deliver on the unspoken promises they made when they purchased the product in the first place. Always try to solve the problem quickly, efficiently and with a smile – the customer will reward you with loyalty and trust.
4. Admit your mistakes and embrace transparency
In business, things don’t always go as planned. Sometimes accidents happen, whether it’s ordering the wrong item, mistakenly selling a broken product, or even experiencing an anxiety-provoking data leak.
In this type of situation, it can be easy to stick your head in the sand, batten down the hatches, and try to hide from the problem. Worse still, it can be easy in this situation to point the finger in another direction: a supplier, a dishonest employee, or even the customer himself.
Don’t. Although it may help in the immediate future, when the client eventually sees the big picture, they will see that you have faked the truth, failed to acknowledge your mistakes, and can no longer trust the truth. ‘coming.
Customers usually forgive mistakes very well if a company clearly explains what happened, sincerely and honestly apologizes, and explains how they will resolve the issue in the future.
So if you made a mistake, get on the front foot. Embrace it and communicate clearly. Don’t get tricked into vague words, but instead be upfront, transparent and totally honest.
As 2023 approaches, the battle for customers will become much more intense. This raises the stakes for you and your business. Building deep relationships with your customers based on trust will give you a significant advantage.