Starting and running a successful online business depends on how much your clients and future clients trust you.
It does not matter how good your products or services are. If you cannot get your prospective customers to trust you, you are heading nowhere.
So, what can you do to build trust in business relationship?
In this article, I am going to address everything you need to know about how to build trust in business.
You will also find resourceful information on how to build rapport with potential clients.
Also, I’ll talk about how to rebuild trust after messing up. As much as we don’t want it to, it happens to the best of us eventually.
Ready? Let’s start!
Why Is Trust Important in Business?
Client trust drives sales.
Businesses buy from other businesses that they trust. I’m sure the same goes for you, you are not going to transact with a company that you don’t trust.
Building trust starts with your website:
- Do you have a secure website (padlock icon in the address bar)?
- Is your domain name appropriate?
- Does your site look professional?
- Do you offer details on your products and services?
- Do you provide ways to contact you?
Make sure to answer incoming email from your website in a timely manner (within 24 hours during working days is acceptable). This will help demonstrate how professional you are.
Once they trust you and buy one of your product or service, make sure to meet or better yet, exceed their expectation.
This will increase your chance of a repeat sale.
Plus, building trust with a new or existing client offers many benefits:
Client trust gets you referrals: Clients will only recommend you to their friends if they trust you.
That is all it takes for someone to put their reputation on the line for you.
One of the best ways to promote your business is to have people spread the word about your brand(s) because they are blown away by the great buying experience you delivered.
For this to work, you need to build trust and provide above average experience EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. you interact with a:
- New visitor to your site.
- Potential customer.
- Repeat customer.
Client trust builds your reputation: When people say they trust your business, what they are saying is that they can count on you to get the job done and that they know you got their back.
This is called reputation – something you need to build to make it in business online.
Since your customers might talk about their experience with their friends and family on social media, getting them to recognize you as dependable, believable and trustworthy business, will help build trust with potential customers.
As you can tell, there are several benefits of building client trust.
Moving on, let us explore the various ways of building client trust in your online business.
How to Build Trust in Online Business
Go straight to the point: Customers have one very big advantage when shopping for a new product or service online:
Unlike brick and mortar businesses where one would have to walk or drive around to get to the next shop, looking for information online is pretty easy.
A client may like your product or service but leave because your site is not easy to navigate.
Hence the importance of giving your website visitors what they are looking for first, and fast.
Other features or additional packages can always come later.
Take care of customer problems and complaints immediately: The product or service you are offering might look perfect in your eyes, but if it does not please your customers, nevert wait to do something about it.
Do not ignore any issue raised by a client.
Fix all complaints and let your clients know that you have fixed the problem.
Addressing a problem for example, might include, apologizing or clearing out some points to avoid a misunderstanding.
Provide a way for customers to reach you: This is one way of assuring your customers that your business is being run by humans who care about your business.
At the very least, leave an email address that clients can use to contact you. Make sure to answer promptly.
Even if you will not be available 24/7, it really helps for a customer to know they can always reach you if they need to.
Aim for positive reviews and ratings: Most of the times when a new product or service hits the market people want to know how genuine it is.
This is where customer reviews, business reviews or product rating comes in handy.
Potential customers will, in many cases, read up your products and services by checking online reviews.
Do your best to ensure that all reviews and ratings are excellent. Ask your first satisfied customers to review your product or service to get the ball rolling.
If you notice that someone left you a bad review make sure to reach out to them and see if you could rectify the problem.
How to Build Trust and Rapport with Clients
While rapport and trust may be related, the two are different but often work together to sustain great relationships.
Rapport is that sense of connection or bond you achieve when you are with someone whose point of view you understand, someone you like and trust.
Having a rapport with a client means that both of you are interested in and focused on what either of you is saying.
A business relationship that has trust and rapport enables you to communicate with your clients, understand what they want, meet their needs, and address any arising issues amicably and in a healthy manner.
How You Build Rapport with Clients
The first impression: Impress your potential clients the very first time they lay their eyes on your business. In most cases, it begins with an ad. Let your ads look and sound human. Never appear as if you are desperate to sell your products or service to a client. The other place is your website, blog or platform where customers go to get information on you, your products or services.
Keep your website and social media pages fresh and inviting.
Be empathetic in your marketing: Being empathetic means that you understand your clients by looking at things from their perspective. One of the best ways to show empathy while marketing is first knowing what the exact needs of your potential clients are, and then position yourself as the solution to those needs. Add a genuine desire to help your clients and you have a winning combination.
Be conversational with your content: Whether it’s on the welcome page, the blog section of your site, or just email, try as much as possible to use a warm and conversational tone with your audience if it’s appropriate for your industry.
Remember to keep emails short and to the point. If you can, personalize emails by using a customer’s name when addressing them.
Show clients what you have done for others: Use testimonials and case studies to show how your business has helped other people.
You can also use social media to show how people are using your product or service, and how they feel about it.
When potential customers see that other people trust you as a brand, it will be easier for them to trust you and do business with you.
Offer the best customer service: Make it easy for your customers to get their issues resolved.
Have contact forms on your website and answer any enquiries about your products or services promptly.
Rebuilding Client Trust
The pressure of making it in business might land you in trouble sometimes.
This could come in many forms, one of which is losing your customer’s trust.
When this happens, two things could eventually take place.
1. You could lose that customer to your competitor
2. You could rebuild the broken trust and keep your valuable customer.
So, here is how you can rebuild client trust after losing it.
Know where the problem is: At times it could be a misunderstanding, other times it could be a mistake that could have been avoided.
In any case, it is important to know exactly where the problem is. Some of the ways you can use to collect client feedback on problems before they arise are:
• Using automated satisfaction surveys
• Client follow up
• Using review and rating websites
Take responsibility for your mistake: After you have identified where the problem is, take responsibility and own up to the mistake. Never become defensive with your customers.
Do not make excuses or refuse to take the blame. Instead, apologize and offer to correct the mistake.
Correct the problem: Take the necessary steps to correct the issue and let your clients know that all has been handled.
Make sure you engage your clients through this process so that they can let you know what you can do to make things better.
Do something extra: A little incentive will go a long way into restoring peace and warmth in the relationship with your client.
Go an extra mile after fixing the problem and offer a free sample, a coupon or a discount.
Such a gesture shows your client that you really meant it when you apologized and fixed the mistake and that you value them as a customer.
Trust is an integral part of any business-client relationship.
How you build trust and rapport between your business and your clients determines how profitable you are going to be in the long run.
As such, it is important that you take into consideration the basics of building and maintaining client trust and rapport all the time.