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Investing in customer trust

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Information travels faster than ever and a person’s worst moments can come to define them. Because scandals spread quickly on the internet, indecent behavior by organizations and public figures appears more common than ever before. And it’s making people increasingly suspicious.

Fortunately, the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer reveals businesses have a better reputation than government and media. Over the past year, businesses have stepped in to lead – often when other institutions did not.

Now, businesses must maintain that trust. Here are six facts to show that customer trust is one of your greatest investments.

Customers who trust you will buy from you. You can’t run a business without paying customers and trust is key to reaching customers and establishing a loyal client base. A lack of customer trust could ultimately cost you your business because there is always a competitor out there who’s willing to take your place. However, customers who trust you will promote your business for you and they’ll keep coming back.

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A lack of customer loyalty is costly. Customer loyalty is a gift that keeps on giving. Research shows that just a five percent increase in customer loyalty can increase profits anywhere from 25 percent to 95 percent, and new client acquisition can cost up to five times more.

Distrust spreads quickly. Just as happy customers can spread the love about your business, unhappy customers can tell cautionary tales. According to a 2018 study, 30 percent of customers will share their thoughts online. Just a couple red marks on your reputation can do significant damage to a small business.

It’s hard to fix broken trust. Consumers are willing to try new things but that doesn’t mean they’ll stick to them. In 2019, the Edelman Trust Barometer revealed that most customers are willing to try a product but if they encounter poor customer service or inconsistent product quality, they’ll go elsewhere.

Loyal customers remain supportive amidst challenging times. A loyal customer is a lot like a loyal friend. They believe in you and support you even in challenging times. If you have to raise prices or eliminate beloved products or services, loyal customers will weather the storm.

Plus, unlike newer customers, loyal customers are often more forgiving about disappointing experiences.

Happy customers are your brand champion. Loyal customers probably send us far more business than we could ever imagine. Small things can make a big difference – like posting about your business on social media or simply mentioning you in conversations with friends and family.

When you’re open and honest with customers, accept constructive criticism and work to improve your business, you’ll have a trusted reputation.

One way to clearly illustrate that you value trust, transparency and integrity is to join the Better Business Bureau. Visit BBB.org/md-apply to learn how it can help your business.

Angie Barnett is president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland.

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