Not every business tries to cheat their customers. But you know what really sucks? Enough businesses try to cheat their customers that most consumers believe that businesses are out to cheat them. This means that convincing a customer you can be trusted is a big obstacle in sales.
But no one should take that obstacle lightly. If you take your customer’s confidence for granted, if you get impatient, or if you assume they have nowhere else to go, then you are practically asking for a competitor to come into your office and take money out of your hands.
We are here to talk today about how to avoid being “that guy”—the customer service agent who can’t give you the time of day, the manager who doesn’t know how their business works, and the employee who can’t tell Warren Buffet from Jimmy Buffett.
Here are 5 great ways to get your customers confident in your business.
1. Have a local business phone number
Imagine that you are an online retailer operating out of New York. Or Texas. Or Hawaii. The specific state does not matter. All that matters is that most e-commerce is done in one state, even as it distributes its products to all 50 states.
Tons and tons of e-commerce salespeople and service providers give in to temptation and use customer service representatives from third-world countries. This usually means giving a script to someone whose first language is not English and asking them to represent you.
This is so prevalent that if a customer sees that your customer service number isn’t local, they’ll assume it is one of these. So, get a local business phone number to help with your image. All you need is a virtual phone number provider to cover yourself with, and your customers will be far more likely to answer the phone when you call.
2. Be honest in all respects
There is one kind of honesty you need in order to get ahead in the world of business and that is honesty towards your business’ value. Imagine you are selling a house that has water damage. If you let your customers know it has water damage, then it will inevitably sell for less.
But here is the thing: That house has a lower value because of that water damage. And if you try to hide that and fail (which will almost always happen), then you will definitely sell for less.
You need to be honest in what you are selling, even if it has problems. If you aren’t, then not only will you fail to retain customers, but you will fail to improve in the presence of competition that is willing to put in the work to cover those issues.
3. Give what you want to get
A big part of getting people interested in your business is by delivering your message to them. You want them to listen. But to do that, you need to listen to them.
Most customers are not just saying, “I want a certain kind of product or service.” It is rare that they are both aware of what they want and correct about what they need. You don’t need to try and shove what they need in their face or tell them what they want.
You need to listen to the problems that they have. Give the customers your attention in a meaningful, comprehending way, and they will do the same for you when you finally pitch to them a solution to those problems. Then, you will be more than a product to them.
4. Reward loyalty
Let’s be honest with each other: Customers aren’t loyal. Lots of guides on running businesses try to convince you that if you tell your story and make the customer a part of it, then the customers will stick with you through thick and thin. But that’s a big lie.
Customers come back to the same businesses over and over again because they need to. And while that’s not loyalty in the romantic sense, it is loyalty in the financial sense. A loyal customer is more valuable than three one-time customers. So, you should have a plan for rewarding a customer that comes back and uses your services multiple times.
The most common methods of rewarding loyalty are personalized discounts and reward programs that allow a person to build discounts overtime.
5. Keep the dialogue visible
The big intersection of all of these tips might not be clear at first, but you’ll know it when you see it: Keeping the dialogue between you and your customers visible. That means if someone says something that you need to listen to, you do not just listen to it. You let it be known that they said it, you heard it, and your business responded to it somehow.
You can think of this as an extension of giving your customers the patience that you want. Except you’re giving them the loyalty that you want. When a customer sees that someone else has gotten their voice elevated, it makes them want to be the one with an elevated voice.
Be careful with this, obviously. You do not want to give power to voices that don’t know anything about your business. But that risk is worth the effort, as it is an easy risk to manage, and the potential reward is that you get an outpouring of support in the form of this constructive dialogue that you cannot have access to without elevating some of it.
The worst businesses in the world think that customer confidence doesn’t matter. That is the mindset of the most stagnant practices and falling profits. Remember, a tree is full of life when it is soft, pliable, and adaptable. When it is hard and unmoving, it is closer to death.
But soft and pliable and communicative with your customer base. Get a phone number that lets them know you are of the same world as them, and they will begin to trust you.