Trust is a fragile thing, small businesses must do everything they can to maintain it in their relationships with customers.
Consumers need to believe three things, according to Entrepreneur: Your customers must understand you are acting in their best interests, you can deliver on promises you've made and that you are honest and trustworthy. Gaining someone's trust is no easy task, and it will take a lot of work and attention. There are a few small changes you can make to your small business's everyday workflow in order to ensure that you and your employees are consistently building trust with customers. For some advice on how to strengthen your relationship with consumers interested in your services, read the tips below:
1. Enact a policy of transparency regarding mistakes
It's a natural desire to want to hide the mistakes that you make, however it is something that you should avoid in dealings with customers, Entrepreneur explained. If you ever mess up in your dealings with someone, simply own up to the mistake and share how you plan on fixing it. After you've explained how you intend to correct your mistake, follow through to show customers that you care and build a degree of trust with them. Maintain the same transparency with your employees, let them know that a small mistake won't result in punishment.
"When [an employee] makes a mistake, the first thing is not to hide it," Ben Milne, CEO of Dwolla, explained. "We'll immediately find you a team of really smart people to help you solve it. You won't get fired."
2. Talk the customer to death
Often people dislike the thought of filling out huge contracts, Inc. explained. Often customers will come to the conclusion that there is something hidden in the contract, which may result in them thoroughly vetting the language for weeks before making a decision. As soon as you provide someone with a document, be as open with him or her as possible about it. Explain everything you can possible think of to guarantee there isn't the assumption that you're trying to trick the customer. For example, people love their money, and if you operate in financial services, they may grow suspicious of a contract that may attempt to take their funds away from them. It's natural to feel that way, so make sure you calm the customers' nerves by always explaining every document.
3. Maintain consistent services
Consistency is important for providing quality service, Forbes explained. Your small business should remain consistent in all phases of operations. This means that your employees should provide equal quality of service, your sales teams should remain uniform in the way that they provide answers to customers' questions, avoid jumping between product or services too frequently and develop an accurate gauge of whether something is working or not – if not, phase it out.
4. Utilize customer testimonials
You can tell customers how trustworthy your small business is all the time, that doesn't mean it actually is. It is good to have proof of what you can do for people, in order to build their trust, Inc. explained. If you are selling a physical product, bring it to sales meetings, display to the clients how exactly it works so that they grow confident in your business's ability to help. Also, find out what exactly the customer is looking for from your business, and see if you can produce previous examples of helping people in a similar way.
Use the above four tips in order to strengthen the trust that consumers have in your small business and keep them coming back.