Building a Relationship of Trust
How do Your Build A Relationship of Trust with Your Clients?
What makes a client go from ‘customer’ to ‘collaborator’?
A relationship of trust. It’s a necessity in B2B marketing, but how do you get it? Building trust is no strange alchemical or mystical process, though sometimes it can feel that way. Where do you begin? In their annual Trust Barometer study, the research firm Edelman pinpointed five major clusters in business operations that impact how much customers trust a company.
It’s no secret that in these days of data leaks and corporate scandals, building trust can seem like an uphill battle. According to Edelman’s Trust Barometer survey, only half of the people surveyed said they trusted businesses in the US. What happens when your customer loses trust in you? The consequences can be dire: nearly 63% of all respondents said that they wouldn’t buy products or services from a company they didn’t trust, and 58% would criticize the company to others. Nothing can spread faster than a bad reputation And we all know what happens to a service when no one asks it to serve anymore
“The toughest thing about the power of trust is that it’s very difficult to build and very easy to destroy. The essence of trust building is to emphasize the similarities between you and the customer.”
– Thomas J. Watson
“It is so much easier to be nice, to be respectful, to put yourself in your customers’ shoes and try to understand how you might help them before they ask for help, than it is to try to mend a broken customer relationship.”
– Mark Cuban
So how do you build that trust? Edelman’s research concluded that there are 5 major clusters that build trust in a customer (from ‘most important’ to ‘least important’): integrity, engagement, products, purpose, and operations. Many businesses have the last three clusters locked down. They have a great product, great leadership and give regularly to charity. Why would they need to care about integrity and engagement, they ask? They are good people, they don’t do anything wrong or break the law. They treat their customers well and they don’t get complaints! But integrity and engagement are not just things that ‘happen’ when you are in business. They need as much effort as making a great product or leading a business that operates successfully.
Some of the first lessons we ever learn in life can make or break your relationship with a customer. ‘Be good to each other’- be honest and ethical in your business. ‘When you make a mistake, say you’re sorry’- take responsibility for mistakes and do your best to fix them. When you make a mistake, and don’t do anything to fix it or make things harder for your customer, your customer will remember that mistake. But if you are forthright about the mistake and make an effort to fix the problem, your customer will remember that instead. Think back to when you first started out. What mistakes did you make, and how did you fix them? How did your customers react?
A relationship is like a tango – it works better with a partner! Taking proactive measures to engage with your customer will yield great dividends in terms of goodwill and trust. Address customers’ needs and listen to their feedback. Frequent communication and collaboration are a must. Customers that feel they are the most important part of your business are happy customers indeed, and trust is at the core of the relationship you have established with them.
A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.
– Michael LeBeouf
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