Trust – The key to building your tribe (and keeping them)
Trust is the foundation of every relationship. It’s hard to build, hard to hold and even when you have it, trust does not always last. This is especially true for customers’ relationships with your business.
Just like an initiation ceremony, customers aren’t going to commit long-term to be a part of your tribe if they don’t trust you. They might know your brand in the marketplace, they may know how to find you, and yes, they may even like you – but do they trust you enough to ‘join your tribe’?
Now more than ever, customers rely on their trust in a business to influence their buying decisions. In this digital age, finding another supplier for their needs is as easy as jumping on Google and typing a service or product into the search bar. So how do you develop trust in your brand and your business to ensure long term loyalty from your customers?
Authentic brands and businesses are the key to building a loyal tribe of followers. Authenticity is not for everyone – think Danoz Direct and the knife king – but if you plan to succeed in business than it should be! Authenticity starts with a strong mission statement and core values that you and your staff understand, believe in, and live by. Showcase your authenticity on social media, on your website through video, and in real life at events and networking activities – look for every opportunity to highlight your business’ authenticity by getting to know your target audience and letting them get to know you too.
Make a connection
Every day, we are overloaded with advertising and media – it takes a twentieth of a second for them to decide what to let in and what is just noise. To build trust and authenticity, you need to make an emotional connection with your customers, something beyond a catchy tagline or a snappy jingle – tell the real story of your brand in a genuine and human way. Be transparent about what you stand for – your customers will relate to the honesty and integrity you express, and you will create a foundation for long-term advocacy and loyalty.
Deliver on expectations
Overpromising and underdelivering is a big ‘no-no’ when it comes to customer satisfaction. Know your business’ strengths and play up to them. Don’t try to cater to everyone – do what you do well and stick to it. Understanding your customers’ expectations clearly and knowing what you can and can’t do for them is a big factor in building trust. Don’t get ahead of yourself by promising to deliver those things that you can’t. In fact, live by the rule ‘under promise and over deliver’ so that your customers will be pleasantly surprised when they get more than what they expected in the first place!
Seek customer feedback and take it on board
How many times as a customer have you given feedback and been pleasantly surprised when that feedback is taken on board and service or product delivery is improved because of that feedback? Now as a manager or business owner, why wouldn’t you use an easy cost-effective tool like customer feedback to improve your customer relationships?
Getting customer feedback doesn’t have to be difficult – tools like Survey Monkey make it simple to put together an online survey that can easily be distributed to customers to find out exactly what they think about your service.
What better way to show your expertise in a particular field than by writing about it? Research shows that customers who read educational content from a brand or business feel a greater trust towards it and are more likely to invest in their product or service. That fact that a business is getting published exposure over other businesses in that field is in itself a tribute to their knowledge and experience on a topic that customers resonate with. Make sure the content is relevant and useful – if your expertise is providing legal advice, don’t start to explain the ins and outs of corporate banking. Keep the information simple, direct and factual – talking to your audience the way they want to be spoken to is essential for building trust. When customers feel they are getting something useful out of a piece of content, they are more likely to give back to the business that wrote it.
Trust is hard work and it takes commitment, consideration and investment to maintain. In the long term, if your customers have trust in you and your business, you are building a loyal tribe of followers who will stay with you through the good times and the challenging times.
Now more than ever, take the time to listen and respect your current customers and continue to build trust in your existing relationships to develop new ones.