Any new business experiences metaphorical growing pains – incidents that were not accounted for in your business plan.
Perhaps your landlord decided after one week that your business was not a good fit for the location. Or your overhead was greater in the first month that you anticipated. Or you are not attracting customers due to a simple fact of the human condition: your business is just too new, and your would-be clientele does not yet trust your brand. Once you do get the public in the door (or on the phone, or on the »website, depending on the nature of your business) you, of course, want »to keep it there – and it is important to build customer trust from that initial interaction. Here are a few tips to help you, right from the get-go:
Get to know the customer.
How often do you call a place of business and expect a live person to answer the phone – only to be greeted by an automated message asking you to press a button for a particular department? Move away from that practice and without completely crossing the professional threshold, show interest in the customer’s life. This idea does not only apply to phone calls – it is very easy to make face-to-face conversation with a potential customer.
Never choose a product or service option based on price alone.
If you purchase your goods from a supplier chosen just based on the fact that it is the supplier that costs the least amount of money, it is a safe bet that the prices are cheap for a reason. While the goods may look great upon their delivery to your business, they could be damaged within a week of customer purchase. The customer is not going to blame your supplier for a faulty product – instead, the customer is going to place the blame with you.
Reward customer loyalty.Depending on the nature of your business, there are many options to work with in regard to showing (rather than telling) your customers that you appreciate all of their business.
Reward cards are popular (for example, purchase five consulting sessions and then the sixth one is free), but a hand-written note is often all it takes. If a customer feels appreciated, he or she will place greater trust in your business.
Stay honest.This tip seems obvious, but many business owners are quick to twist the truth. Eventually, lies and underhanded dealings catch up to you – and to your customers. New businesses are difficult to manage in their infant stages. While it is hard work to build customer trust and nurture relationships, the metaphorical “high road” is worth it.