When building your brand, it’s easy to focus on elements like your logo or your latest marketing campaign. But another factor that may be even more important to your company’s success is the level of trust you can establish.
Trust applies regardless of the industry or sector your company operates in. With the rise of social media, online reviews, and the sharing economy, consumers and companies have more options when choosing and vetting their business partners. This confirms that trust is an increasingly important factor in the selection process.
More than seven in 10 consumers say that they are unlikely to buy products from a company that has lost their trust, according to PwC. The key to building trust with customers is focusing more on relationships than transactions. That’s particularly important in our modern, digital-first economy, where many transactions occur without the parties connecting face-to-face. Even if you’ve never met your customer, building trust with them can create greater loyalty, enhance your brand’s reputation and –ultimately—improve your company’s bottom line.
Truly building trust with your company’s key stakeholders requires a top-down approach, starting with senior leaders. Remember that trust is something your company will need to develop and earn over time. That said, keeping the following principles in mind can help you get started:
Deliver a positive, personalized experience
No matter how good your product or service, customers will lose trust in you if they don’t like the experience of working with your company. That means allowing your customers to make purchases via whichever platform they prefer at a time and place that works for them. From there, it’s up to you to make sure you deliver the product or service they want at the promised time.
To do that, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve put the right processes in place to ensure a seamless delivery of your product or service every time—and a backup plan or plans for dealing with those times when the process goes awry. The more positive experiences a customer has with your company, the more likely they’ll trust that they’ll have a positive experience the next time they deal with your company—and to tell their friends the same.
Own your mistakes
Nobody’s perfect. Being transparent and authentically apologetic when your company screws up can help save the relationship—and the business. The first step is recognizing the mistake and taking responsibility for what went wrong. Next, you’ll want to be transparent with your customer about what happened and the actions you’ll take to ensure such an incident does not occur again.
Again, creating a company culture that takes responsibility for errors or problems requires buy-in from the company leadership. When executives and managers publicly admit that things have gone wrong, it’s easier for frontline workers to do so in their client interactions.
Treat your employees well
This rule of thumb has become even more important in recent years with COVID and the Great Resignation. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, more than three-quarters of workers say they have higher expectations from their employers than they have in the past and are more likely to sing the company’s praises. You should treat your employees well because it’s the right thing to do, but prioritizing the needs of your workers can also improve your bottom line.
While part of treating your employees well is simply paying them a living wage and providing a competitive benefits package, the real work goes beyond that. Employees trust companies when they feel truly supported and comfortable bringing their whole selves to work.
Building a culture that prioritizes employee trust requires a significant investment of both time and resources; however, it can also deliver an unbeatable return on investment. When employees are happy, they’re more likely to work harder to provide a positive experience to your customers.
While building trust among your employees and customers won’t happen overnight, it’s also something that’s entirely within your power to create. With consistent focus over time, you can build the level of trust your company cultivates and enjoy