To call customer trust vitally important to the survival of your small business would be an understatement. Unsurprisingly, businesses that develop reputations for being dishonest, deceitful, or generally untrustworthy often have trouble retaining regular customers and attracting new ones. That being the case, maintaining the trust of your patrons should be among the foremost priorities of you and your staff. In the interest of ensuring that customer trust in your business remains strong, take care to avoid the following behaviors.
Unresponsiveness to Customer Needs
It’s only natural that consumers would value having their needs addressed. After all, by providing your small business with patronage, they’re helping ensure that it stays afloat. That being the case, taking their questions, concerns, and complaints into careful consideration is the absolute least any business owner could do.
So, the next time you’re presented with an inquiry, complaint, or suggestion from a customer, make sure to take their input into account. While no one relishes hearing that their efforts leave room for improvement, ignoring such feedback is unlikely to serve your business well. In fact, in many respects, negative feedback can be the most helpful type of feedback. By becoming aware of any areas in which you and your team could stand to improve, you can effectively lay the groundwork for changes to various policies that aren’t sitting well with patrons. Of course, this isn’t to say that you’re going to agree with every change customers propose – or that every proposed change is going to be feasible – but customer feedback can be incredibly useful – provided, of course, you’re open to accepting it.
On the flip side, refusing to amend policies with which patrons are unhappy is liable to lead to a decrease in both new and repeat business. Given how many options are available to consumers these days, finding another business that fulfills the same need is unlikely to prove difficult. So, if you insist on ignoring customer feedback, just know that you’re doing so at your own peril.
Failure to Honor Special Offers
Special offers can be effective vehicles for generating consumer interest. However, if your business isn’t able to make good on such offers, it is imperative that you avoid putting them out there in the first place. Not only will failing to honor special offers lose you a lot of business, it’s also likely to result in costly lawsuits and other legal action. So, the next time you’re tempted to advertise a special offer, make sure that you’re prepared – and financially able – to follow through.
Failure to Secure Customers’ Data
Data breaches can prove tremendously damaging to both your business and its customers. When patrons provide you with financial data and other personal information, they’re placing a considerable amount of trust in you – and a failure to properly secure their data represents a betrayal of this trust. As such, you’d do well to invest in a host of dependable cybersecurity solutions. For example, a good banking API can be a boon to businesses that regularly deal with financial information.
Refusal to Admit Mistakes
No business is infallible. Regardless of how much time and effort you put into managing your small business, it’s important to realize that mistakes are going to occur – and when they do, you’ll need to be extremely mindful of your reaction. Unsurprisingly, refusing to own up to mistakes made by you and/or your team members is not going to do you any favors with your patrons. The less responsibility you take, the less consumer goodwill you’re likely to receive.
So, the next time a customer comes to you with a mistake, carefully consider how much of a point they have instead of immediately going on the defensive. The more willing you are to accept your mistakes and make up for them, the more willing inconvenienced patrons are to give your business a second chance.
In the absence of customers’ trust, any small business will have a difficult time remaining solvent. In the search engine age, consumers have more options at their fingertips than ever before. So, regardless of what types of products and/or services your business has to offer, a plethora of competitors can likely be found with a few simple clicks. That being the case, building trust with customers should be among the foremost priorities of every business owner – and with the advice outlined above, this goal should be easily attainable.