The Key To Customer Relationships Is Building Trust
In any relationship, trust between the parties helps establish longevity and openness. As technology allows brands to become more prevalent in our everyday lives, the consumer relationship with these organizations are starting to look like the way we interact with each other. Long-term customer relationships can be a key differentiator for a brand in any industry because these repeat customers are not only bringing their own business back to your brand, they typically bring a cohort of their own personal network. Establishing trust is the best way to encourage this longevity, and the only way to do so is to display a message of honesty, transparency and added-value to your customers.
Whether your brand is entering a new location or trying to become a larger part of the community it already encompasses, the ability to connect with the local environment is extremely impactful. Each individual community will require different methods to achieve this level of trust, but just like when doling out presents during the holidays, it is not always what the brand is doing but the thought behind it. It does not matter if you are providing Sunday morning mimosas like Mariano’s in Chicago, or acting more in line with Amazon installing a homeless shelter in their Seattle headquarters, what matters is your ability to connect with customers in any way, shape or form.
Once you have established the kind of value your community is looking for, the next step to ensuring trust in customer relationships is organizational transparency. This approach has multiple levels, but ultimately it allows customers to get an inside look at what their money is going to when they purchase your product or service. Customers expect to be able to find exactly how your product and service is made before purchasing, and beyond that, many customers want to know organizational structure information, like how employees are being treated and paid, or even how a company searches for, hires and trains its employees. By revealing all this information to the customer, they will be more at ease to make a purchasing decision without fear they are being ripped off.
The key in establishing this trust is moving away from the traditional state of mind that has become so prevalent in the business community. Rather than trying to make as much money out of every moment all the time, customers are looking for brands that are clearly attempting to create these long-term relationships by providing value beyond the product or service they peddle. Transitioning away from a philosophy of profit-per-square-foot and entering into an enjoyment-and-wonder-per-square-foot model allows brands to better encourage the kind of trust that leads to longer relationships and higher profitability.
Beyond organizational structure, accomplishing this goal from a macro perspective requires digging deep into each micro-interaction that takes place between your brand and the customers it serves, regardless of the setting. Employees need to be specifically trained to provide a specific style of service, only then will brands find that customers are making plans to return to a store before even leaving in the first place. Create training programs that teach employees to value each individual interaction over incentivizing total number of sales or profit. Rather than encouraging your sales team to make as much money as possible, train them to learn as many customer names as possible, and to make a positive contribution to the trust in larger relationship between the customer and the brands in which they shop. Placing trust as a pillar of your organization’s Customer Experience platform will help induce more long-term customers, ultimately reducing acquisition costs and increasing profitability.
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