Deborah Winchester of Shopper Anonymous, a leading customer feedback organisation in the UK, guides us through current shopper behaviour; focusing on the importance of creating trust as the way to build and retain customer loyalty
“I trust you because your customer service is great.
I trust you because your product is good quality and reliable.
I trust you because I know I can get in touch with you if I need to.
I trust you because you clearly value my custom and I feel special.
I trust you because I like you.
I trust you because you keep me updated with news and ideas or products.
I trust you because you don’t always want to just ‘sell’ to me.”
…said the happy customer to the customer-centric, modern day business.
If you have loads of customers who are saying the same thing to you, stop reading. You’re clearly aware of what sort of marketplace we live in in 2016. Otherwise read on!
It doesn’t matter what business you are in, if you have customers, this year you will be prioritising trust. ‘Trust is earned, not given’. We know the mantra and we also know its value. And yet many businesses are still operating under the illusion that the customers are out there and that business will arrive at their door, till or web page as if by magic.
This is the age of the customer. Google the phrase ‘customer-centric’ and you’ll have enough blogs or articles to read until 2017. The customer is in the driving seat. Your customer will know all about you, the good and the bad, and will know all about your competitors. Your customer won’t hesitate to seek out the best deal or offer and will use reviews, social media and referrals to assess your credibility.
Your customers’ opinion of you will be based on data, whether accurate or not. Your customers’ reaction to you will be emotional.
According to Forrester Analyst Anjali Laito, “Emotion is often the primary factor influencing customer loyalty and the strongest driver of customer retention, enrichment and advocacy”.
One thing will drive your customer back to you and keep them close – TRUST.
“The most credible advertising comes straight from the people we know and trust. For that reason, it should come as no surprise that more than eight in ten global respondents (83%) say they completely or somewhat trust the recommendations of friends and family. But trust isn’t confined only to those in our inner circle, as two-thirds (66%) say they trust consumer opinions posted online – the third-most-trusted form of advertising.” – (Nielsen, 2015 report )
If your customer trusts you, they will love you. If trust is there, you will have earned an advocate, a raving fan and a lifetime supporter. Trust is a belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of….; it is an expectation of faith and consistency. That expectation is not granted as a ‘default’.
If you’re not using trust in customer service as a competitive advantage you are missing out. A perfect example is the new car industry. My neighbour recently spent over £30,000 on a new car. The car’s due date was postponed twice. Finally, he got the car and just the car. He drove out and did not hear from Range Rover again. He has his eye on a BMW for next time.
His daughter recently spent £10,000 on a new car. She picked it up on the due date and had to move the delightful cupcake and ‘congratulations’ card from the driver’s seat to drive away. One week later she received a phone call from Hyundai asking how she was enjoying the vehicle.
Total spend on earning the customer’s trust and loyalty? Probably around £2.00 and ten minutes of time.
So what do you do to earn your customer’s trust?
Five tips for becoming trustworthy:
Trust is earned, not given. Don’t expect your customers to magically hand it over, trust is earned over time. Maintain a relationship with your customer, even if it’s just an occasional email or newsletter, stay in touch.
Customers don’t trust words, they trust actions. Be consistent, provide backup and aftersales care, offer assistance if they need it. Be approachable.
Trust is earned through honesty; ALWAYS be transparent and clear and never make promises you can’t deliver on.
Trust is fragile; trust is easy to break, easy to lose and one of the hardest things to get back. Make sure that whatever your customer service strategy is, you have the ability to deliver.
Trust stems from knowledge. Ask your customers how they feel, what they want. Show them you want to get it right. If you don’t know what your customers want, it’s hard to give it to them.
Trust is sometimes forgotten or overlooked in the business/customer relationship. But in this customer-centric age of social media and online reviews, trust is the golden ticket to loyalty, repeat business and greater profits. What do you do to earn your customers’ trust?