Alignable recently released the results for The Most Trusted Brands By Small Businesses. From communication to email marketing to online commerce, brands were ranked in terms of trustworthiness using ratings and reviews gathered from small business owners. Specifically, customers were asked if they would recommend a major brand to another business owner. The results may surprise you.

What won’t surprise you is this: brands with a low level of trustworthiness also suffer in other areas, like sales and customer loyalty. As a small business owner, customer loyalty can make or break your company, making trust an integral element of your success. In fact, Entrepreneur asserts that “Trust, not exposure, is the currency of today.”

Let’s take a look at some ways business owners can build trust with your clientele.

  1. Never underestimate the power of a first impression. Did you know that 60-80 percent of e-commerce site visitors are first-time visitors? This fact makes it more important than ever to present a site with an attractive and high-quality design.
  2. Value honesty in your business dealings. Many customers are so accustomed to dishonest business practices that their “honesty radar” is always on when dealing with a new company. The quickest way to turn off current or potential clients is to take part in shady business. Be as transparent as possible in all aspects of business.
  3. Produce compelling content. Advertising used to focus on authority figures endorsing products. However, consumers- specifically millennials- have become skeptical of advertising, rendering professional endorsements essentially worthless for companies whose target demographic consists largely of millennials. Today, it takes a steady stream of worthwhile, interesting content to slowly build authority. While some companies can still experience success with endorsements, the key here is to know your audience and what type of content they value. Then, tailor your content to meet the needs of your audience.
  4. Apologize publicly for mistakes. No company is infallible, and in a world where business and politician culpability is a rare sight, a little humility can be refreshing. The important thing to remember is that after a mistake, there is a brief window of time in which you can own your mistakes and regain the faith of your customers.
  5. Keep an eye on your online reputation. The adage, “All press is good press” doesn’t apply to all situations. If your main goal is attention, then bad press isn’t always bad news. However, for a business aiming to build trust, you want to monitor your online reputation and jump on negative press. Here are a few tools that can help.
  6. Be consistent. Clear, consistent messages about your product are important to manage. The more reliable your behavior, the more trust you build with your clients.

Businesses can’t generate positive client relations overnight- or out of thin air. In this article, we talk about crafting a memorable brand experience. Building trust is part of crafting your brand experience, and can help generate a positive perception of your company. Building trust takes time and effort. Make relationships an important part of your business by starting as early as possible. Take care to prioritize your clients’ trust, and show that you value their business. Provide a clear and straightforward way for customers to provide feedback, and show that you hear their voice and value their opinions.

It may sound like a lot of work, but taking the time to nurture your business-client relationships now will pay off generously in the future!

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