How to Build Trust and Credibility with Your Customers
For new business owners, establishing customer loyalty is just one of many things on your to-do list. These days, most consumers research online reviews before completing a purchase, so your reputation is critical for success. By building trust with your customers, you can boost your business’s credibility while cultivating growth.
Who Plays a Direct Role in Building Customer Trust?
Most businesses have client-facing staff members who are often looked to as playing a direct role in developing customer trust. However, any staff member who interacts with potential customers directly or indirectly is responsible for building customer trust around your brand.
Some examples of trust-building staff include:
- Customer service reps
- Sales team members
- Content creators
- Marketing managers
While training each client-facing point person in reputation management, it's essential to instill the importance of deeply understanding your clients -- a cornerstone of the "know your customer" approach. Speaking consistently with your entire team about your vision for how the company should be perceived allows this client-focused mindset to permeate throughout the organization. Tying business decisions back to customer trust and articulating that thought process to your team can help them internalize the mission and act the way you would want them to act at all times.
In the ever-evolving landscape of business, customers should be your priority. Their feedback, loyalty, and overall satisfaction often dictate the trajectory of a brand. When employees from every tier of the organization value and prioritize customer needs, it creates a cohesive and effective business strategy. By placing customers at the heart of your operations, you foster trust and build lasting relationships that can stand the test of time, market shifts, and competition. This philosophy of prioritizing customers ensures that every decision, big or small, reflects the company's commitment to those who rely on its products and services.
Gaining Customer Trust
While there are many potential ways to gain customer trust and boost sales, some yield more consistent results. Below are a few key ways to build credibility for your business, including marketing tips for B2B customers. This is how to boost business sales — one of many customer service tips you should consider.
Personalizing the customer experience and tailoring solutions to individual needs fosters a deeper connection with your clients. It can strategically boost sales by creating a sense of loyalty and understanding that generic approaches may lack.
Make a great product or service
This goes without saying, but the first and most important factor in creating customer trust is to have a quality product. Customers will return to a company or recommend it to another if they felt they spent their money wisely. A poor product will gain customers in the short term if the price is reasonable, but they’ll eventually look elsewhere if they aren’t getting good value. Ultimately, a customer expects the product to be worth what they spend. Low prices speak volumes at first, but when the customer notices the product quality matches the cheap price tag, they’ll go elsewhere.
Adopt and share company values
Outside of business, a person will be attracted to another if their values match. In business, a customer is more likely to patronize a business whose values reflect their own. Since it’s impossible to match this way with every potential customer, maintaining core widely-appreciated values will go a long way toward helping your business gain traction. These values include being charitable, supporting programs within the community, being dedicated to producing quality, using sustainable practices, and so on. A company with good values will attract customers and build trust. Be sure to share the work you do on your website and client-facing materials, so your clients have the chance to understand this side of your business.
Solicit and act on feedback
A listing page detailing all the product or service characteristics provides the information they need, but that’s only part of the feedback equation. That equation also involves asking how customers experienced your brand and what would have made that experience even better. Providing channels for customer feedback and acting on it promptly is a great way to help boost trust with current and future clients and make your service as good as possible.
Share positive reviews and testimonials
Customers rely heavily on reviews to help them decide whether to buy a product or service. Sharing positive reviews and customer testimonials is another critical part of building trust. Positive reviews are helpful for internal decision-making, but you can also leverage them online and in client-facing materials as trust signals. This tactic both acknowledges your existing customers and builds your customer base.
Your communication channels must be responsive. If a customer can’t get a timely response, they’ll simply go elsewhere, and you risk losing business. Simply being available to your potential customers is a great way to boost business sales. It’s a great idea to adopt automation and tooling to help you stay in touch with clients through the sales process.
It's also important to respond to public reviews (both negative and positive) on platforms like Yelp and your Google business profile. For positive reviews, sending a "thank you" in response can show prospective clients that you appreciate their business and that your relationship with them doesn't just end after the transaction.
You may also receive negative reviews from time to time. Depending on the nature, there is a process to delete a Google review, but it requires a few steps. You'll first need to flag it for removal, which is an option if it's fake, irrelevant, or written by someone you directly compete with. You can also flag reviews that contain profanity or use threatening or derogatory language. Neither Google nor its partners tolerate content inciting hatred or discriminating against specific groups or individuals.
Leverage social media
Social media platforms offer businesses virtually unlimited customer service opportunities. Creating and monitoring social media platforms will open up a new avenue for posting relevant content. This method also gives your internet-savvy customers a convenient way to access your customer service team. Some larger companies create personalities for their business – that is, they adopt a human-like character that allows them to come across as more relatable and approachable. This tactic uses social media as a way of establishing business credibility and building loyal b2b clients.
How to Use Customer Service as a Marketing Strategy
Your customers are your bottom line. Customer service is crucial for your business growth, and it’s important to invest in it as though it were its own marketing channel.
Stellar customer service can unlock growth for businesses in most verticals. The first step to being able to use your customer service as a marketing strategy is to make sure yours is excellent. Build a dedicated team and hierarchy to handle customer service inquiries and any escalations you may experience. An internal focus group should also be used to create playbooks that empower your customer service team to make the right call in most common situations. Integrating these marketing tactics within your customer service strategy can help transform each interaction into an opportunity for growth and customer retention.
It's also important to have the right tools and setup for this part of your business. Smaller businesses will want tools to chats, emails, and mobile inquiries. Business VOiP systems are a flexible option for handling calls, especially if your customer service team is in a different location than the rest of your company. There are also all-inclusive platforms that can help you manage multiple channels at once if you have a larger team or need.
Evaluate your budget
Setting a budget for marketing is essential, but you also have to consider how you’re currently spending money. However, if you decide to proceed, make your next financial move based on existing customer service operations. If you don’t have the data available, create a spreadsheet of all the ways you spend on customer service and customer experience. This should include staff that answers emails and calls, loyalty programs, etc. Then, evaluate how well you’re delivering on customer service.
If your customers feel your service is great at your current spend, you may not need to expand. Most businesses will find that there’s room for improvement. Deciding the most strategic next step for improving customer service will help you determine how to change your budget so you can take action. Ultimately, allocating part of your marketing budget to customer service is a great way to gain and retain clients. Check this guide if you want to learn how to improve customer retention strategies for your business.
Whether you’re posting content on your website or social media accounts, it can provide value to new and prospective customers. New customers may learn through your content that you are trustworthy. Existing customers may get even more value from you through educational content.
If you choose to invest in a web-based content strategy, think about how you’d like your content to provide value to the public. What questions might they have? What problems might they be trying to solve? By serving their needs proactively, you can provide passive customer service (and drive website traffic, too!)
Value-driven content is one of the most effective strategies to grow a business online organically. When you create and share relevant, high-quality content, it not only attracts potential customers but also nurtures your relationship with existing ones. By doing so, you are fostering a community of engaged users who will not just consume your content but also share it, leading to natural and sustainable growth. The organic reach of your online presence is amplified through each share, like, and comment, essentially turning your followers into brand ambassadors. This growth is inherently cost-effective, as it relies on creating content that resonates with your audience rather than spending significant amounts on traditional advertising.
Offer loyalty programs
Loyalty programs help engage existing customers further and earn return business or referrals to their network. You might unofficially reward past or existing clients for referring others to you or create a tiered loyalty program that you share more officially.
Instead of requiring repeat business for loyalty benefits, you might simply allocate a budget to thank-you gifts for customers. This ties up the transaction with a “bow” and leaves a lasting impression after a large purchase.
Use clear and consistent branding
Practicing consistent branding of your business is vital in establishing your identity and building trust with customers. By consistently displaying the same branding elements across different channels like the website, social media, and print marketing materials, companies can reinforce their image and strengthen brand recognition.
Many consumers discover brands online, so applying consistent branding throughout the website is especially important. Utilize elements such as logo design, fonts, and colors across all web pages on a well-designed website for a positive first impression. This conveys a sense of professionalism and makes potential customers more likely to trust and engage with your products or services.
Customer self-service is another great way to turn clients into fans. At its most basic, self-service solutions are any process, system, or tool that allows customers to address their concerns. Along with feeling valued and rewarded, customers also love convenience. Some examples of self-service solutions include FAQs, video tutorials, community forums, and A.I. chatbots programmed to address customer concerns through a “live” chat.
While self-service solutions can translate to lower customer interaction, they have a few notable benefits. These benefits include
- Increased revenue. Self-service options such as online appointment scheduling provide real-time support like talking to a person would. However, it’s entirely customer-driven. By offering these kinds of self-service options, businesses often see a 15% increase in revenue.
- Better customer experience. If customers have their needs addressed promptly, they’re more inclined to make a purchase again and again. Self-service caters to customers by enabling them to troubleshoot their concerns quickly without involving staff members.
- Lower customer support costs. Having in-person customer support means a substantial part of your overall budget goes toward maintaining staff for this purpose. By offering self-service solutions, you allow your customers to address their concerns independently without speaking to customer support staff.
Having self-service options in place is valuable — especially considering that many customers prefer to conduct their product research online before committing to a purchase. By embracing self-service solutions and by following the tips and strategies listed in this guide, you’ll be well on your way to building credibility with your customers.