Steve Jobs once said, “A brand is simply trust.” Without customers trusting you, your startup is on track to sink. It takes a lot of work to gain customers’ trust when you start your venture. And, it takes even more effort to retain customers’ trust.

Trust can make or break the success of your business. How do you retain customers’ trust?

7 Ways to retain customers’ trust

If you want to boost your company’s bottom line, your customers must trust you. And if you’re looking to create business relationships that last a lifetime (and who isn’t?), you need to be honest with your customers. Here are seven ways you can retain customers’ trust and build up brand loyalty for your business.

1. Keep your promises

I’m a strong believer in the saying, “Don’t make promises you can’t keep.” Customers expect business owners to keep the promises they make. And if you can’t keep your promises, you may find yourself losing customers’ trust.

When making promises to customers, be realistic. Over-promising or under-delivering is a sure-fire way to lose credibility and break trust.

Keep everything from your product or service descriptions to promotional offers as clear and accurate as possible. Regularly review your promises to see if you are upholding them. If you are not staying true to your word, customers won’t know what to believe.

2. Be yourself

Customers can smell fakeness from a mile away. If you’re not yourself, you will stick out like a sore thumb.

Instead of trying to be someone you’re not, be yourself. Showcase your personality in your business and don’t be afraid to be different.

Being yourself can make you more relatable. And if customers can relate to you, they are more likely to trust you and your business for the long-run.

Get to know your customers on a personal level. And, let customers get to know more about who you are, too. Showing your true colors can create long-lasting and honest relationships.

3. Follow up with customers

To establish long-term relationships with customers and build trust, you must follow up with them. Customers can easily forget about you if you fail to keep in touch. Trust me, the last thing you want is for customers to forget your business.

Follow up with customers to make sure you’re meeting their needs and see how your product or service works for them. Customers are more likely to trust you if they see you reaching out to them.

At my accounting and payroll software company, Patriot Software, we welcome customers with a call when they sign up for an account. And, we follow up with them regularly to check in and see if they have any questions or concerns.

Following up with customers can prevent major issues later on. And, it shows your customers you truly care about them and their business.

4. Explain mistakes

When you make a mistake, what do you do? Do you shrug your shoulders and move on? Or, do you try to learn from your mistakes? Personally, I try not to let history repeat itself.

When you make a mistake in your business, don’t beat around the bush. Avoiding your mistakes can come back to haunt you and cause customers to not trust you anymore.

Take responsibility for your actions. Offer an honest explanation for your company’s mistake. Rather than just saying “I apologize” consider saying “I’m truly sorry for any inconveniences this issue caused you.” And, offer ways to make things right, such as discounts or coupons.

Offering a sincere apology shows customers you are honest about your mistakes and want to learn from them. And, showing customers you are sorry and want to improve makes you less likely to lose their trust after a bad experience.

5. Stay consistent

Sometimes, business owners underestimate the power of consistency. Consistency is key when it comes to retaining your customers’ trust.

When customers see that you’re consistent with your offerings, they are more likely to trust your business. Customers won’t stick with a business that can’t deliver on its promises. And, they definitely won’t trust an inconsistent company.

Are your customers able to count on you? Your offerings and customer service should always be the same if not better than before. Exceeding customers’ expectations can earn you their loyalty and trust. If customers don’t receive consistency, they will likely lose faith and move on.

6. Be transparent with customers

According to one source, 86% of consumers think it’s important for businesses to be transparent. And, these consumers define transparency as being open, clear, and honest. Can you say that you’re fully transparent with customers?

From the very beginning of your startup, transparency should be a priority. Without transparency, customers may never fully trust you.

Since I started Patriot Software, I have been as transparent as possible to my customers in every part of the process. For example, I talk about how Patriot started in the basement of a factory in our radio advertisements and on my company’s website.

Be straightforward and honest about every aspect of your business. A transparent business can easily gain and retain customers’ trust. And, it humanizes you and your business.

7. Always be reliable

Picture this: You call up your favorite bakery to order a cake for your son’s birthday. A few days later, you go to the shop to pick it up. When you get there, your order and cake are nowhere to be found. Would you still feel like you could trust this bakery? I know I would be a little hesitant to order from them again.

A key ingredient in retaining customers’ trust is reliability. If customers can’t rely on you, how do you expect them to trust you?

Keep customers coming back for more by being reliable. Be there for your customers when they need you most (e.g., last-minute orders). And, provide prompt and helpful customer service if problems arise.

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