Customer trust in businesses is languishing to non-existent.
Trust is essential for customer loyalty and profitability
Customers want to know they are dealing with a reputable company, one that won’t take advantage of them:
- Amazon lets you know you’re about to buy a book that you bought just three months before and reminds you of that purchase rather than immediately ringing up the sale and generating revenue.
- Cell phone companies send you a bill letting you know you exceeded your allocated minutes at $0.40/minute rather than warning you that you’re about to exceed your minutes.
- The water company sends you a bill for $250 when your historical average has been $40 rather than reaching out to let you know you may have a leak.
- Credit card companies move your rate from 12% to 28% for being late with a payment.
The financial industry, the press, the government and many companies (i.e., Enron, Tyco, Worldcom) have negatively affected consumer trust so much that in some areas, research shows a 10%+ decline in customer trust.
According to Forrester, globally, trust in business is 50%, while trust in business leaders to tell the truth is at 18%.
How to avoid having a trust issue, or regain lost trust:
- Encourage honest communication among peer groups on the web and in social media.
- Include your customers, prospects and influencers in discussions – the more you do, the more “ownership” they’ll have over the products and services they buy.
- Empower, and seek input from, employees. Your employees likely know your customers, and their concerns, better than you do.
- By facilitating a customer network of peers, consistently adding value (versus selling), and doing what you say you’ll do when you say you’ll do it, companies can improve customer trust and brand perceptions.
- People trust other people like themselves; as such, product recommendations, and referrals, from peers carry a lot of weight.
- Have a dialogue with your customers to understand their needs and wants – not only will you improve customer satisfaction you’ll see a greater return on your investment.
- Be more concerned about the relationship than making the sale – commit to a “customers for life” philosophy and you’ll end up earning customers’ trust, and a greater share of wallet, over the life of the relationship.
- Worry less about selling better and worry more about teaching. The power of content and information translates into sales.
- Operate in a transparent manner. If you're not who you say you are, you'll be found out and your business will die a fast death.
- By providing value, companies will gain customer trust.
Trust is the evaluation criterion through which business success is created.
Consumers buy more products from companies they trust.
The more loyal customers are, the more likely they are to be customers for life.
What are you doing to ensure your brand is honest?