A trustworthy reputation is a hot commodity in the business world. In a world where big corporations tend to do everything in the name of profit, is it any wonder that the public’s trust is at an all-time low? From Boeing’s shady response to the crash of the two 737 Max jets, Volkswagen’s cheating emission scandal and the numerous anti-trust accusations leveled at the tech companies that have dominated our collective lives, large corporations have shown time and time again that our collective well-being isn’t exactly a priority for them.
It used to be that having a recognizable brand would be enough for with information now being traded so freely over the internet, customers have gotten even savvier. As of now, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a multinational corporation or a small business operating out of a home office; it’s how trustworthy you are as a business that counts. For SEO services and marketers, building brand recognition isn’t going to cut it anymore; you also have to build public’s trust in your brand if you ever want to actually succeed as a business.
Trust is what builds loyalty
In a strictly economical sense, the difference between a brand I trust and other brands is that with brands I do trust, I’m willing to pay the full price for their products and/or services. If it’s with any other brand, I almost always wait for a discount, unless it was something that I needed at the moment. These trusted brands are also my first port of call whenever I’m looking for something and it’s also quite likely for me to recommend that particular brand if anyone in my circle is looking for something they have on offer.
By having a relationship based on trust with your customers, you’re turning them into more than just customers, but also potentially as an unofficial brand advocate. For example, I follow several brands that I personally trust in social media and whenever they’re having a promotion, I’d happily share that information with some of my closest friends, widening the appeal of said brand even more. Your business shouldn’t be content with just getting your customer’s money, it’s their loyalty that should serve as the ultimate prize and the following 4 tips should help you in being more trustworthy.
Mistakes will always happen; the important thing is how you handle them
I’m not going to tell you to never make any mistakes because they will always happen and it’s not like you go about your business with the intention of making a mistake. No, what I’m going to stress here is how you handle and recover from those mistakes. Whenever any mistakes occur, no matter how small, the first thing you should do is to come clean. I understand that as a business you have to protect yourself from lawsuits so even if you’re not sure if the fault lies on your side, you have to still acknowledge that there’s a problem and that you’re doing everything you can to get to the bottom of the problem.
Never act as if everything’s okay or worse, insinuating that the problem lies with your customers, unless you’re absolutely sure that you’re completely innocent. Even then, you still have to act as if you’re the one at fault and always endeavor to be helpful at all times. Badmouthing your customers is not a good idea, even in direct correspondence. Remember, it’s remarkably easy for members of the public to take a screenshot of your private correspondence so always speak as if you’re conducting your conversation in public.
Always be accessible and responsive
Two decades well into the 21st century, it’s quite likely that your business can be reached in more than just one avenue of communication. You probably have an e-mail address, a publicly social media account and quite possibly a direct customer service line via an instant messaging service. All of these channels however are useless if there’s no one to answer from your side so you want to make sure that you’re quick to response to any queries or complaints thrown your way.
Be honest and transparent with your product and/or services
Let’s say a potential customer came to you with a query. This particular query revolves around an issue that your product is technically capable of handling but isn’t optimized for. However, this issue is also a priority for this particular customer and the question is, how should you react in a situation like this? Should you assure this customer that yes, your product is capable of handling that issue or should you come clean and inform that customer that your products aren’t especially suited to handle that issue?
Sure, if you’re concerned about your immediate bottom line, the first option is what you should go for but what about the long-term reputation of your brand? The truth of the matter is that every business have their own niche to fulfill in the world, even Amazon doesn’t sell cars for example, so if you feel that you’re not going to be able to meet the needs of a certain customer, then say so. Don’t make promises you won’t be able to keep as that’s the kind of thing that could easily ruin your reputation.
Keep a watchful gaze on consistency
The thing about loyalty is that they’re difficult to gain and even more difficult to maintain. For you to be able to safely maintain your customer’s loyalty, you want to be as consistent as possible and not just in terms of timing. Yes, you want your products and/or services to at least maintain the same level of quality ten years down the line but you also want to ensure that your brand is sticking to the same core philosophy and identity in the same amount of time. Apple earned their iconic status not by zig-zagging from one philosophy to the next, they’re still following Jobs’s guideline even after he’s gone and that should serve as an example to your business.