There are many things in the world today that customers don’t trust, here’s what you can do to make sure your brand doesn’t become one of them.
The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down. Businesses have gone virtual to protect their customers, co-workers, and families. Face-to-face communication is limited, so in-person meetings are not happening. Nor are sales calls or any other high-touch contacts that so many business relationships are built on.
We have been forced online, using new, unfamiliar tools to get work done, keep sales and revenue coming in, and meeting customer needs. Pile these challenges on top of people quarantining to keep their families safe, adapting our homes to create “professional” workspaces, and juggling space and resources to get kids into online classrooms, and you see the magnitude of the task at hand.
But the basics of business have not changed despite this radical departure from the normal ways we used to take care of it. You still need to create meaningful relationships by building trust with your customers. So how do you do this in the current situation?
You adapt. Let the customer know you are with them during this challenging time, that you understand what they are going through, and that you will work through the challenges together.
7 ways to build trust and strengthen customer relationships
Building trust is critical to the process. According to a PwC in-depth look at what customers want in trust and security, 88% of them said the amount of personal data that they share with a company depends on how much they trust that company.
How do you build trust? Here are seven suggestions:
1. Make it easy to communicate with you
Give your customers multiple ways to contact you. Give them email addresses, cell phone numbers, and be flexible enough to schedule conference calls and online meetings at any moment. Return calls and answer emails within hours instead of days.
Get familiar with the technology used for working remotely. Even after COVID-19 subsides, the ordinary ways of doing business will never be the same. Whether you are using WebEx, Zoom, Google Meet, or any number of other tools to connect and work remotely, you must know how to use them. And you may even need to teach your customers and help troubleshoot through their technical challenges. A little patience and willingness to help go a long way toward building trust.
2. Request customer feedback
Find out what the customer needs. You can do this by making a call or sending out a brief email with the simple message of “what can I do for you right now?”
You can also do more sophisticated research in tools like SurveyMonkey by creating surveys that will both discover the challenges they face and show that you listen. A more intensive way to build rapport is to send an in-depth questionnaire to selected customers to get even more detailed feedback, uncovering more customer needs and challenges.
3. Answer customer questions
Use the customer feedback you receive to uncover customer questions and/or sticking points and answer them with in-depth information that is tailored to their situation and needs. If one of your customers is asking this question, there are probably a dozen more out there that have the same question but haven’t reached out for answers. Make it a point to be your customer’s trusted source of accurate information.
4. Apply a personal touch
According to a PwC study, 43% of U.S. consumers say they would not give companies permission to collect their personal data (such as location, age, lifestyle, preferences, and purchase history) to allow for more personalized, customized experiences.
However, they felt differently in one instance: For a service they say they truly valued, 63% would be more open to sharing their data.
5. Tell the truth
Sometimes it seems like we try to shape the customer’s situation to fit our solution, even when it might not be ideal. Nothing builds trust faster than admitting that you don’t have the answers and pointing customers in the direction of a resource or (even a competitor’s) solution. They will come back when you are the right choice and recommend others who might be a better fit for your products and services.
6. Get permission
People are extremely protective of their data and privacy. If you ask for information from a customer, make sure you have clearly defined policies about how that data will be stored, used, and protected. One thing to keep in mind from the Accenture study “Making It Personal”: 64% of consumers who said a brand experience was too personal or invasive said the brand had bad information that they didn’t knowingly share, or that they had shared elsewhere (like a purchase they made with a different business).
7. Provide killer content for “free”
Once you capture customer feedback and uncover questions, you have excellent sources to build content for your customers. Answering their questions and using feedback to create valuable content is a great way to continue to build trust.
It is human nature to want to “return the favor.” If you give away something valuable for the customer to want, they will tend to want to reciprocate. If the content you provide helps them and answers their questions, without asking for anything significant in return, you have built loyalty with that customer.
Build trust with the best-in-class data solution
Trust is the most important component of making a meaningful connection with your customers. If a customer emails you with a question and you answer it within four hours, it shows that you value their time and want to help them resolve problems quickly.
Once you have built that customer relationship with trust and received permission to tap into the customer’s data, use that data wisely. The Omnisource IQ solution helps identify shoppers who are ready to buy now. Ready to provide the concierge shopping experience that your customers dream of? Talk to one of our BDEX team members today.