Trust is key when it comes to growing your business. In fact, 83% of customers are willing to recommend businesses they trust to others. Trust is also an essential component of client retention. Around 65% of a company's business comes from existing customers, and earning a new customer costs five times more than keeping an existing one.
While client trust can't be tracked quite as easily as profits or expenses, it can — and should — be a priority for every business.
So how do you build trust with clients? There are a few things you can do to help build your long-term clients' trust in your business — some you can begin implementing right away.
Your customer service has everything to do with how much your clients end up trusting you. Throughout the entire relationship, you have to continuously prove you care about your customers. Ensure that your team knows what's expected of them and check-in to make sure they meet or exceed the bar every time.
Offer multiple ways for your clients to reach you when they need support, and be sure that they always know what to expect. It should be easy to reach you, and your answers should be consistent. Company guidelines can help with this, but it's also important to see each client as an individual with value. Give them a personal touch and deliver on your promises; this method pays for itself by increasing client retention and boosting your brand image.
In the business of building trust, you need to keep your word. Part of that is adhering to mutually agreed-upon contact methods, meeting times, and other commitments. While not every client will offer you the same respect, you must maintain your end of the deal. Having an agreement in place that fully outlines these responsibilities will help hold everyone accountable.
Touches such as sending email reminders for upcoming appointments, making rescheduling easy, and keeping current, thorough notes about clients will help you maintain and build client trust.
In any business, one of the best ways to become a trusted member of the community is to offer value. Resist the temptation to make everything about the sale or closing the deal. Potential clients, and those you hope to keep long-term, will appreciate a business that genuinely wants to offer valuable information to clients and non-clients alike.
Offering value establishes your company as a thought leader, enabling you to build trust by sharing your knowledge and skills with the world. This can be done through blogs, social media posts, and even through the various packages you offer. In addition to following through on client agreements, make a point of surpassing them from time to time. This will create goodwill with your existing clients and increase the chances that they'll refer you to new leads.
Trust isn't earned by keeping things hidden. It's okay to be honest and transparent with your clients. Let them know exactly what they can expect from your company from the very first encounter. This means that your sales copy and marketing materials need to be authentic and transparent, not misleading. Stick to the "under-promise and over-deliver" way of thinking; you don't want to make exaggerated claims that you can't live up to.
It's also critical that you involve your entire team in this process and mentality. They, too, need to be straightforward with all information, including pricing, policies, and anything else that affects your clients. You would rather a potential client know exactly what to expect before signing on with your company, even if it means you don't sign every deal. You want satisfied customers, not every customer. Those are the ones that will stick around as long-term clients.
Everyone makes mistakes; accepting responsibility when things go wrong is a sign of integrity and trustworthiness. If you're caught covering up mistakes, you'll immediately lose any trust you've built up with the client in question. Whether it's a missed deadline or a quality issue, compromising your reputation is always a mistake.
Sometimes, you can do this on a negative review by responding first with acknowledgment and then an apology. It's also important to share how you plan to fix it. Other times, you can talk to the client directly. No matter which technique you choose, be sure to avoid becoming defensive. These strategies will show your client that you're accountable and honest, which will help you build a long-lasting client relationship.
Being open to hearing how your clients feel about the job you're doing is an important aspect of earning their trust. They want to feel heard and valued and see that you handle any issues that come up promptly. You can do this by sending surveys regularly, asking not just about what they like, but what you can improve upon. Implementing clients' suggested improvements builds trust even further.
Sometimes, you'll be able to pull testimonials from this feedback, but you can also consult review sites, your social media accounts, or ask clients for feedback directly. After all, customers will usually trust other consumers more than companies, so any client testimonials you can publish will make you look more credible.
Lastly, for clients that prove to be loyal, you can build trust by rewarding their loyalty. Offer discounts for referrals, send small gifts of appreciation, and be sure to follow up with a thank you every time a client does something that helps build your business.
While Accelo doesn't handle face-to-face interactions with your customers, we do help manage the back end. As an integrated platform and client management system that runs business operations in the cloud, Accelo provides businesses with the tools and resources they need to manage client operations.
With your sales, quotes, projects, tickets, retainers, timesheets, billing, and scheduling all managed smoothly from one place, your customer service experience will improve significantly. Accelo helps small to medium-sized businesses maintain long-time client relationships, giving them the freedom to spend less time focusing on upkeep so they can grow their businesses. Try out Accelo today with our free trial.