In any small business, there are a variety of strategies you can implement to grow your organization over time, including marketing well, having effective sales techniques, and providing products or services that customers really want. However, one thing that can really make a huge difference to your bottom line and help you save costs over the long term, is building your business around the concept of trust.
While this process takes time, energy and plenty of hard work, it is always worth the effort. Read on for some tips you can follow today to help you grow your business in a sustainable way that will produce results for years to come.
Build Customer Trust With Trusted Groups
A simple yet effective technique that you can use to showcase your business as a trustworthy one is to join one or more relevant groups. For example, most industries will have member groups that you can become part of to show your dedication to, and knowledge of, the sector. These groups may be for businesses in your local area only, or may be nationwide or international.
There are also broader groups that represent more general interests, such as running businesses in an ethical or sustainable way. For example, bedding company Personal Comfort recently announced that it has become a BBB Accredited Business, and as such will continue to adhere to BBB’s “Standards of Trust.” These standards involve policies, procedures and best practices which all revolve around conducting business with integrity, honesty, transparency and responsiveness.
As Personal Comfort’s CEO Craig Miller said, “Our BBB Accreditation gives our customers confidence in our commitment to maintaining high ethical standards of conduct.” BBB provides unbiased information about companies to the public, thereby acting as a trusted, impartial resource. Accreditation by this organization helps customers to place their trust in member businesses as a result.
There are many other groups which you might want to consider joining your firm up to for credibility. If, for instance, you operate sustainably and want to target the ever-expanding LOHAS market (people who live ‘lifestyles of health and sustainability’), you may like to consider obtaining Green Business Certification via the Green Business Bureau (GBB). Membership in the GBB, and the verification that is provided along with it, helps to showcase a company’s commitment to sustainability, and can build customer trust in the business and its green claims.
Display Logos and Certifications
Similarly, your business website and other marketing collateral (such as email signatures, business cards, and advertisements) can include any other relevant logos and certifications which help with building trust with customers. When people buy online, in particular, they like to feel that a website, and the company behind it, is well-established, legitimate and secure enough that they can provide their personal information without negative repercussions.
Displaying the logos and site seals of organizations that provide your business with payment processing services, SSL certificates, verifications or other relevant systems or services can make a huge difference in a customer’s mind. As an example, PayPal is one of the most trusted payment processing systems known around the world; while GeoTrust is a very reputable provider of SSL certificates (something required for any website to sell goods online securely.)
Google also runs its well-known “Google Trusted” program, certifying that member stores provide reliable shipping and excellent customer service. Customers can also feel safe in the knowledge that when they shop with Google Trusted Stores, they will receive free purchase protection on their transactions.
Proudly Showcase Testimonials
Testimonials and product reviews are another great way to help customers feel good about buying your products or services. Displaying feedback from past and current customers on your websites, social media pages, advertisements, presentations and even potentially business cards or emails can help get customers across the line when they’re deciding whether or not to spend their money with your firm.
Using reviews and comments from satisfied clients provides unbiased recommendations that can overcome buyer skepticism; highlight the benefits of your product or service; substantiate your claims about the effectiveness or use of your wares; and give more credibility to your business overall. Keep in mind that testimonials don’t have to be in word format, but can also include video and audio files.
Provide Clear Contact Details
Another way to help build customer trust is to be available when they need you. This means making contact details easily accessible on websites, social media sites, Google searches, emails, and the like, and responding promptly to communications, whether by phone, in person, or digitally.
When shoppers can see that there are some contact options available to them, even if they never have to use them, they feel reassured that they will be able to get in touch with you if a problem ever occurs.
Be Transparent When You Build Customer Trust
It also always pays to be transparent in your dealings with every consumer if you want to build trust with them. Like the saying goes, honesty is the best policy, and customers can generally always tell (or at least will suspect) if they are being lied to about a mistake or other issue.
If errors do happen to occur, it is always better to acknowledge them, apologize and take steps to stop the problem from happening again, than to try to hide or cover up the mistake. Consumers appreciate being told the truth, and will often rate a company highly if a problem arises but is dealt with quickly.
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