Customer Experience Featured Article

Want Customers to Come Back? Make Sure They Trust You

August 20, 2014

Repeat business is a major part of most any operation, from retail to restaurants to major corporate efforts. The idea that people will buy something, and then come back later to buy something else or something again, is the kind of thing that means cash flow, and stable, reliable operations. But in order to build repeat business—according to a report from Business2Community—there's a critical component required: trust.

Trust, as the Business2Community report puts it, is “more than just reputation and credibility,” though these are certainly part of the equation. Beyond these two key points of the operation, however, are two other major focus points: intimacy and focus. The four in turn work together to yield trust in the enterprise, and that it can do what it claims to be able to do. Credibility is a big point here, as when people have an idea that the company in question knows its product line and the market, it's not hard to trust that company even when it makes changes. There is a difference between changes made at random and changes made to react to changes in the market, even if it looks the same to the outside viewer. Reliability is also a point; a company that only changes when need be is better than a company that changes all the time; there's a lot to be said for consistency, and knowing a product will be quality each time.

But intimacy is also important; a customer can trust a brand pretty easily on the strength of a personal attachment. Remember the idea of a “Ford man”, a person who's bought Ford vehicles all his life and wouldn't think of buying another unless circumstances forced the decision. Focus, meanwhile, helps to convince customers of credibility and reliability, but also helps drive particular attention to the customers' needs. Focusing on a particular product can go a long way toward establishing credibility—it's like not buying electronics at an insurance office—but focusing on the customer's needs goes toward reliability. When changes are needed, the changes are clearly necessary, because the company works to provide what customers need.

There are even simple ways to make sure each of these points are addressed in normal selling operations so as to make it clear to the customer such are on hand. Credibility can be established as simply as a knowledge management network, offering the customer easy access to the complete range of a company's knowledge on a topic. Reliability can be had with easier escalations to an agent and more first-call resolutions, always an important point. Intimacy can be had with a multi-channel approach, allowing the company a presence where ever the user happens to be, and focus can be evidenced with rapid responses to customer issues across all platforms, particular with social media, where customers are often likely to complain if there are issues.

Naturally, bringing in these points alone may not be sufficient to convince every customer that an organization has a clear focus on said customer's needs, or that the company is intimately acquainted with a customer. But these are points that will go a long way in providing the important assurances that a company is working in these directions. There are other points to include, of course; there are more ways to illustrate credibility than just offering up a particularly robust FAQ page. Still, starting with these and actively looking for others should go a long way indeed.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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