Marketing Stockport member and insight6’s customer services expert comments: “If there was an official recipe book for success then one of the key ingredients needed would be trust.”
Trust is something that has to be earned and it is crucial to the success of any business. Management must trust their employees to carry out their roles without compromising the image of the brand. Similarly, with trust being a two-way thing, the employees must trust the management team to be making the decisions that are in the best interest of the company and to be providing fair praise and reward when it is due.
Trust at Board level is vital and a team within a company must also trust each other to do a good job. To perform to the company-wide standards and not let each other down.
insight6’s Chris Lowe explains:
Importantly, the customer must trust the brand so that they know when they use it they are buying into something which is not only something they trust to be of good quality but also that the brand aligns with their own beliefs and ethics. They have to trust that the company is going to live up to the promises and that they won’t let the customer down.
So the first part is obviously important. How do you gain the trust of the customer in the first place?
As I said, trust is something that has to be earned. It is very important to keep that in mind as it is not something that can be forced upon people. There is also no quick fix to trust, it is something that has to be built over time.
One thing that works is personalisation.
People are more likely to buy something from someone they know and you are more likely to trust someone when you have built up a relationship. The first step to doing this? Knowing each other’s names. Wearing name badges may seem like a very small thing but it is very important as it says the to customer that you are open and not trying to hide, you are not just an anonymous employee trying to sell the company’s products or services. Similarly, get the customer’s name and use it.
Secondly, go to that old saying, under promise and over deliver. Customers absolutely do not like to feel like they have been lied to. Over-delivering is a fantastic way to make the customer feel great about themselves and the experience they have had with your business. It can only take something very small to make a big difference.
Take for example an order from a website such as one that I made the other day. When making the order I was given the time frame of 5 working days to be delivered at my door. The very next day and my purchase had arrived. Had the website stated that the purchase would be there the next day I would not have been surprised when it turned up, I would have just thought they had delivered on what they had said. Because my item arrived five times quicker than promised I was left feeling over the moon about something which really was very simple for the company.
Crucial to building trust is the customer service.
Get this wrong and you will find that the trust the customer has will become very fragile. In a CNBC survey, a whopping 71% of customers said that poor or underwhelming customer service would cause them to lose trust in the brand which only serves to highlight just how important it is to provide the customer with an exceptional experience.
Even if something goes wrong with the product which means you don’t deliver as promised, trust can still be saved by dealing with the problem in the correct way. Turn a problem into something memorable by going above and beyond what the customer would expect you to do. You never know, you may just win a customer for life.
If you are unsure on the value of trust then look to Facebook as an example where they have an issue.
Facebook users’ confidence in the company has plunged by 66% as a result of revelations that data analysis firm Cambridge Analytica inappropriately acquired data on tens of millions of Facebook users according to one study.
Since the scandal where Facebook users were having their data used without their knowledge, Facebook has been publicly hurt by the loss of trust with 9% of those who took part in the study saying that they had already deactivated their account because of the data use and a further 31% saying that they would be highly likely to do so.
What to do if you have lost trust
One thing about trust is that it is very hard to earn and yet very easy to lose again. You will have heard of the iceberg effect – the research that shows that one negative comment from one customer does not mean just one unhappy customer, they are just the tip of the iceberg. That customer will go on to tell several other people about their experience who will then go on to tell even more people. It is problem that has only been increased by the rise of social media where unhappy customers can tell the world about their problem.
But, fear not, trust can be regained:
1. Determine the source of the problem – here is where feedback is crucial to your business. How can you regain a customer’s trust if you don’t seek to understand where things went wrong in the first place? A study conducted by TARP showed that only 4% of customers are likely to make noise to try and resolve an issue with the current brand whereas the other 96% just silently move on to a competitor. Gaining feedback from every customer during their journey is key in preventing this and solving problems before they become a wider issue.
2. Apologise – If something has gone wrong it is always best to rebuild trust by owning up to it and apologising. If you try to hide away from the fact that something is wrong or ignore it then the customer is going to assume that you think what has happened is ok. If you apologise then this is the first step in allowing the customer to trust in the brand and believe that it was just a one off bad experience.
3. Offer something extra – When something has gone wrong and trust may be low, show the customer that you care by offering them something extra like a discount or a free sample. Doing so shows your appreciation for the customer and lets them know that you are taking the problem seriously. It shows that you value the customer.
Thanks to Chris Lowe, Customer Experience Director at insight6 for providing his Expert Opinion