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In many markets, competition is fierce and customer loyalty seems harder and harder to develop.
One of the reasons: consumers are increasingly a sceptical lot.
Thanks to bad actors and outright scams, building trust with customers can be a real challenge. But fortunately, there are a number of ways companies can set themselves up to do just that. Here are five of them...
Make it easy for customers to contact you
Even if you don't have a call centre with hundreds of representatives ready to field emails and calls, companies that hide important contact details don't do themselves any favours in the trust department.
Consumers increasingly expect that the companies they do business with will provide customer service across channels, so it's important to highlight these channels and make it easy for customers to find and interact with your company through them.
Adopt fair policies
Your lawyers might require that you have comprehensive agreements, but that doesn't mean that you can't adopt fair terms.
From return policies to privacy, setting fair policies and making them clear in plain English is an important part of demonstrating to customers that you understand their needs and concerns and are prepared to meet and address them in an equitable manner.
Behind every great trustworthy company are great trustworthy people.
One of the best ways to establish trust with customers is to introduce them to the people responsible for delivering products and services to them.
There are numerous way to do this. From encouraging employees to use social media and maintaining active social accounts to posting photos and bios of employees on your About Us pages, don't shy away from showing the human side of your business.
Don't be mean or shady
Be careful about using tactics that won't reflect well on your business if they become publicly known.
From black and grey hat SEO techniques to mean-spirited marketing campaigns, tactics that can sometimes produce short-term gains are often capable of leading customers to question your corporate morals when they're discovered.
Do the right thing
No matter how hard companies try to prevent them, mistakes happen. When they do, far too many companies fail to do the right thing.
Forget about maximising a sale, even if you legally can. When your company makes it a habit of doing the right thing, you'll maximise customer lifetime value.