Building trust with your consumers is essential for success in business. Trust leads to repeat business and loyal customers, along with increased sales and brand awareness. That trust, however, takes time, hard work, and consistency to earn.
It is important that business owners educate themselves on how to establish and maintain trust from their customers and community. Here are a few strategic tips that will lead to a strong, positive brand reputation.
1. Deliver Consistent Levels of Service
Customers feel comforted when they know what to expect from a business. In order to provide that to your consumers, every part of your brand should be consistent. This means your employees’ practices, answers, and service need to be in line with your brand. If your promise to your customers is that your customer service department will respond to inquiries within 24 hours, your employees must deliver on those expectations.
Amazon does a great job with this. It has been ranked as one of the top online retailers for good reason. If you need quick service and hit the “Call Me Now” button, an Amazon employee will virtually call you immediately using the information you provided. Customers expect a quick, efficient callback when shopping on Amazon.com.
2. Be Honest
Honesty really is the best policy especially when it comes to business. It is extremely important that your consumers feel a high level of honesty when buying your products or enlisting your services. They need to know that the security of their personal information is of utmost importance, and your business is taking the proper steps to avoid a security breach. If your customers’ information does fall in the wrong hands, notify them immediately. If they find out about it in another way, your reputation will be tarnished, and it will be extremely difficult to earn it back.
One company that failed terribly at being honest after a security breach is the very popular cosmetic company, Lime Crime. They went through a security breach where their customers’ financial information was compromised. Instead of being open and honest about the situation and alerting their customers so they could cancel credit cards and alert their banks, Lime Crime continued with business as usual. Many consumers lost thousands of dollars, and the CEO waited months before coming clean.
3. Act Immediately
If there has been a security breach that puts your consumers’ personal and financial information at risk, honest and immediate action will let your customers know that you are on top of the issue and doing everything possible to ensure a quick resolution.
A company that exemplified fast action was Barnes & Noble. In September of 2012, the bookseller giant had their credit card pin pad hacked and it was suspected that 63 of their stores were affected. Barnes & Noble contacted the Department of Justice for assistance and guidance, contacted credit card companies to alert them of possible unauthorized charges, and soon after, under the guidance of the Department of Justice, alerted their customers of the breach. The bookstore also removed 7,000 pin pads to prevent the problem from continuing. By acting quickly and seeking professional assistance, the retailer was able to maintain the trust of their customers and save other customers from theft.
In the unfortunate event that you do experience a security breach at your business, know that you and your customers are in good hands by enlisting the services of LifeLock. Visit its business reviews to see if its services are right for you.
Susan Finch is a freelance writer with a passion for travel and helping small businesses find their online voice through content marketing, blogging and beyond. She can be found at BySusanFinch.com.
About Matt Schoenherr
Matt is a husband, father of four, marketing consultant and founder of Marketing Ideas 101. As a student, teacher and published author, Matt supports the worthy goals of service and commerce in the small business and nonprofit communities. You may find him on Google+, Twitter and Facebook. Creative marketing ideas and marketing strategies may be found at MarketingIdeas101.com.