Trust is integral between businesses and clients. With its mere existence, prices are accepted, delivery times are met, and the possibility of future deals is set. Most, if not all, business interactions are primarily anchored on trust.
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In this contemporary age where such transactions can be conducted remotely (i.e. over the phone or online), trust has become more essential than ever. Thus, developing and cultivating a mutual bond that keeps customers coming back is critical for any business, established or otherwise.
However, trust is something that can take months to build up but can be shattered with one wayward act. Therefore, first-time or even experienced business owners would do well keeping these tips in mind.
1. (Under) promise and (over)deliver.
Understanding the placement of these two prefixes is essential. Executives must always make engaging, attractive promises that remain reasonable. When the time comes to deliver on the promise, provide more than expected in either quality or quantity. This practice will guarantee continuous client satisfaction, and secure a steady working relationship.
In case of inevitable setbacks such as an uncontrollable delivery delay, clients must be informed with ample time to spare. They will appreciate the communication, and will understand that the problem is being addressed with the highest priority.
2. Foster a mutually beneficial relationship.
Loyalty is engendered by cultivating partnerships, not parasitism. A minor drop in profit is quickly offset by a repeat customer; thus, it is important to ensure that these returning clients are furnished services unavailable to first-time clients. They must be treated with the utmost respect and care, perhaps with a rewards program.
When nurturing trust, maintain a mindset of providing rather than obtaining. Again, the minimal financial costs will be compensated by positive word-of-mouth and the promise of a steady client.
3. Listen to clients.
Active communication is essential to customer satisfaction. An effective business leader should be open to clients’ suggestions ranging from their expectations, needs, and most importantly, their points of dissatisfaction.
Their concerns must be addressed with care and attentiveness, so that clients understand that they are being heard. Furthermore, customers can often observe issues in the services invisible to the managers themselves. Factoring in client feedback and immediately applying viable solutions will only result in continued improvement for business, leading to increased customers.
4. Maintain repeated correspondence.
Loyal customers must be valued as such. Provide them with regular attention, as recognition of their continued service will lead to their increased appreciation of the business.
After they become members of the rewards program, their retention should be ensured via targeted emails and telephone calls addressing their particular needs. This nurturing must be constant because as soon as this attention ceases on one end, the clients will feel similarly, and may lose interest. As soon as interest begins to wane, refreshing the methods of communication is an effective way to reignite client relations.
5. Practice complete transparency.
Customers value honesty, which is also a key to trust. They regard transparency, especially when it comes to your goods and services, and their corresponding prices. If hidden costs are involved, all fine print must be shown and explained prior to securing a deal. During the negotiation process, a quality product sample must not be shown if a subpar one will be delivered.
As mentioned above, the opposite is preferable, and will allow your client to be pleasantly surprised by the unexpected increase in value. Deceit is a short-term strategy, whereas transparency will be of much greater benefit for the long term.
6. Include guarantees for products and services.
Guarantees are invaluable to trust. When selling certain goods, managers can include warranties transcending those of the original manufacturer. An additional safeguard will provide added peace of mind to clients, which will increase confidence in the product. This will in turn increase confidence in the business and generate positive feedback, which will be useful in securing new and returning customers.
Services can also be guaranteed, since second repairs or fully addressing issues with prior services will also foster trust and ensure customer satisfaction.
7. Develop trained customer service staff.
Addressing trust is not limited to upper management. Effective customer service is perhaps even more integral to lower-level employees, because they will deal with customers firsthand.
Training and protocols must be reviewed and applied to various situations, depending on the client. The most loyal customers should be recognized by the staff as well, so as to provide the level of comfort and service those clients have been expecting. Essentially, all the skills fostered by executives in dealing with clients should trickle down to the employees to develop client contentment at every level.
8. Understand the competition.
Know the market. This step will allow ample flexibility in the plans of the company, while avoiding repetitive products and services.
Remaining competitive is not limited to undercutting rival businesses. A higher level of quality, customer service or both will enable repeat customers. Greater value for money is often preferable to cheap service, and effective customer service managers will remember and enforce this philosophy.
9. Ensure a positive final impression.
Last impressions are often as powerful as first impressions. The memories of effective services or quality products are ones that remain with clients until well after interaction with the business. Ensure that the quality of the service remains consistent from beginning to end, and customers will keep this in mind when deciding whether or not to return.
Most importantly, prioritize your clients. They are the lifeblood of your business. Ensuring their contentment is the key to success, and gaining their trust is the simplest and yet the most effective way to do so. The effort dedicated to this pursuit will prove invaluable once a healthy pool of clients has been secured.
About the Author: Thirdy Rosales loves to play basketball aside from being one of the go-to-guys in PrintRunner.com as an Online Content Manager. This company is a one-stop-shop in terms of online printing resource that provides high quality business card services and their office is located in Van Nuys, California.