3 Ways To Build Customer Trust
Customer loyalty is an amorphous concept — something every business strives for but few seem able to truly grasp. Loyalty is built on trust, and the truth is that many companies don’t put in the necessary time or effort to earn their customers’ trust. Whether it is because of something identifiable, like a corporate scandal or big data breach, or something smaller, like a poor customer service experience or misused customer information. Only 52 percent of consumers trust companies and over 75 percent believe companies are lying in advertisements, reports an infographic from Ragan.
This general mistrust is a problem for businesses, particularly because loyal customers are valuable commodities. Studies show that repeat customers spend 67 percent more money than a new customer, claims LocBox. Acquiring new customers is expensive. It costs five to ten times as much to convert a potential prospect into a paying customer than it does to sell to repeat customers. A Concerto Marketing Group and Research Now survey found that 83 percent of customers who trust a company will recommend it to others and 82 percent will use that business frequently.
So how does a business establish trust?
The following are three proven ways to build trust and earn customer loyalty:
- 1) Make Respectful Customer Service Your Top Priority
Marjorie Adams writes in Forbes that earning customers’ trust starts with giving great service. Seventy percent of consumers have said that they will spend more for good customer service, according to an American Express survey. Your goal should be to provide responsive, timely and respectful customer service. When customers don’t feel respected, either due to excessive wait times, ineffectual or rude service reps, or no consistency between one contact and the next, they will take their business elsewhere. A presentation from SDL states that 64 percent of customers, after experiencing just one major customer service failure, will look for an alternative, stop recommending that business and possibly go as far as actively discouraging others from using the company.
- 2) Make Transactions Easy
Customers are more likely to trust a company when connecting with them is easy, both in terms of a sales transaction and a customer service contact. For example, adding an online payment option to your business’ website through a company like Sage One adds an extra level of convenience. Knowing that they can pay in your physical store, online and through their mobile device with this software makes customers feel like they have more control over their payments.
Likewise, providing a phone number, email address and social media contact information to every customer makes the customer feel more secure about dealing with your business. For example, the photo storage startup ThisLife goes as far as sending a personal email to each new customer with a direct email and phone number for a customer service agent.
- 3) Communicate With Your Customers
Building loyalty takes time and effort, but the payoff of engaging your customers is clear. The Rosetta Consulting Customer Engagement Study found that engaged customers buy 90 percent more frequently, spend 60 percent more per transaction and are six times more likely to try a new product or brand from that company.
The frequency of your interaction matters too. Consumers are 87 percent more likely to report loyalty to a brand and advocate for that business if they interact with the business daily, as opposed to 64 percent who interact weekly, 49 percent monthly and 33 percent only a few times per year. The type of interaction is important however. 44 percent of customers will stop using a business if it sends out high amounts of impersonal and generic email.
Building customer trust and engagement is hard work. Your business has to make their needs the priority and do whatever you can to keep them as loyal and returning customers.