According to the 2014 Trust Barometer, there are 16 attributes that build trust:
1. Listening to customers
2. Treating employees well
3. Putting customers before profits
4. Honest and frequent communication
5. Ethical business practices
6. Responsibly addresses issues or crises
8. High quality products/services
10. Attention to protecting and improving the environment
11. Addressing societal needs
12. Having a positive impact on the local community
13. Partnering with NGOs and third-parties to address societal needs
14. Highly-regarded top leadership
15. Ranks as a top global company
16. Consistent financial returns to investors
As a small business, not all of these will apply to you, but let’s take a look at the ones that do:
Listen To Customers – Go to where your customers are talking about your business online, and take what they have to say to heart. This could be local or national review sites, forums, or even on your own site. Also, ask your customers for feedback, and then take their suggestions.
Put Customers First – Don’t nickel and dime customers and don’t tack on hidden fees. Remember that customer satisfaction is worth more in the long run than a little extra revenue now. Word of mouth is very important for small businesses and putting customers first is the best way to get a positive buzz generated around your business.
Honest and Frequent Communication – Communicate with customers about their orders/services and proactively communicate with prospective customers so that they know what they expect when they transition to existing customers. Don’t bombard people with needless contact, but make sure that they know your business is on top of things.
Ethical Practices – This is just another way of saying what your mother has been telling you since you were a child – “treat others the way you want to be treated.” Don’t cut corners or use unscrupulous practices.
Address Issues – Issues will sometimes arise when it comes to scheduling services or shipping products, that’s just the reality of doing business. But what customers will remember is how you handled them. Address issues right away and again, keep customers informed.
Transparent – As a business, when you hide things your customer base will always think the worst. A lack of transparency is a surefire way of harboring distrust and resentment among your customers.
High Quality Products/Services – This is pretty self-explanatory. When you provide high value products/services and stand behind what you offer, your target audience will respond positively to that.
Protect and Improve the Environment – No matter what industry you’re in, there are always ways to go green. Whether that means sending paperless bills to clients, using eco-friendly materials, or donating money or time to green organizations, finding a way to have a positive impact on the environment can help establish your credibility.
Have a Positive Impact on the Local Community – Giving back to your local community shows that you aren’t just about making money, but also on being a positive influence. This is even more important if you’re serving the local market. People are more likely to give you their business if you’re turning around and giving some of that back to your community.
Looking for an internet marketing company to help your business succeed online? Take a look at the offerings from LionShark Digital and let us know if you have any questions!
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Web Consulting for small businesses, Copywriting and Local Online Marketing. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and enjoys cooking, watching sports and spending time outdoors. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about marketing theory and SEM trends… so beware!
Photo from Flickr (Neal Sanche)