3 Simple Ways To Improve Customer Trust Today

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3 Simple Ways To Improve Customer Trust Today

Central to the success of any brand or company is capturing the trust of people.  We’d all like to think of ourselves as trustworthy, but trust must be established and not merely assumed.

Here are three simple things we have learned from our America’s Most Trusted® study you can do to embed trust building into your day-to-day business operations:

#1 Ask, Listen, and Learn

Listening is the key to effective trust building, and it can also raise your profitability.  Here are two ways to demonstrate to your customers that you are committed to establishing trust by listening to what they need and what is important to them.

Customer Interactions – Ask your customers what they are seeking to accomplish and how you can help. Demonstrate your need to understand them by taking notes and repeating back what they have said. Detect the words they use to describe and keenly observe their body language as they speak.  Seek to understand before trying to be understood. To establish trust, people need to believe that you see them as an individual with unique needs.  By asking questions and genuinely listening to them, you will create the opportunity to form trust.  Trust Inquiries are one means brands can use to assess trust formation within front line interactions, and to identify moments within the customer journey in which trust is being obstructed or constructed.

Seek Listening Opportunities – Establish a routine of finding ways of asking and listening to your customers.  In addition to face to face interactions, find the means to identify ways in which you can seek feedback from customers.   Customers who see a brand consistently acting toward their best interest will form the necessary groundwork in establishing trust.  For example, provide in person or follow up surveys that seek to understand what is essential to the customer and how your brand or product is living up to their expectations.  By seeking out opportunities to listen to your customer's thoughts and feelings you will not only discover new approaches and understanding of those you serve, you will also form the bonds of trust from which brand trust is dependent.

#2 Know what is expected

A central feature of creating trust is understanding the expectations people hold.  The question being asked by a customer is “can I trust this brand and their product?”  When customers feel confident in their expectations of a brand, they form trust.  Expectations can vary widely from one customer to the next, but often there will be a core set of expectations.  Among most products, quality and reliability are expectations customers hold.  Will your product do what it claims it will do and will it consistently perform?

Mapping customer expectations is an excellent approach to establishing trust-building practices.  Stand in the shoes of those you serve and identify what expectations do they hold.  Consider how these expectations may differ based on things such as decision stage.  What are expectations during shopping, purchasing, and using the product?  By understanding the expectations customers hold, you can evaluate if you are effectively communicating and achieving customer expectations.  When expectations are met, or exceeded, trust will follow.

#3 Look for ways to communicate trust

How your team members interact and communicate with your customers is central to establishing brand trust. A good management practice is to role-play everyday customer conversations to find ways to communicate trust.  Ask your team members to share actual customer encounters that occur every day.  Seek to encourage your staff to think of actual real conversations and not an abstraction of customer encounters.  By being specific, you can identify chances to form customer practices that are grounded in true experiences.

An effective approach to examining how trust is communicated in everyday customer interactions is to role play with your team.  Present different scenarios and together ask if you are effectively establishing trust. For example: In greeting customers how is trust communicated by you; When customers ask for help with a problem do they know they can trust you; When faced with disgruntled customers how do you reestablish trust; or how do you convey trust to customers you communicate with multiple times?

If you’d like to learn more about this topic, check out America’s Most Trusted, our brand research and insights program. Or, consider contacting us directly to learn how we can support your organization.

Eric Snider