Customer Experience News & Trends

12 reasons customers won’t trust you

Every company strives to make good first and lasting impressions with customers. But good intentions won’t always work out, and trust is lost when you make the following mistakes.

Sure, some businesses have always been under some scrutiny — such as penny stock brokers whose questionable practices were depicted by Leonardo DiCaprio and company in The Wolf of Wall Street — for their intentional deception.

But businesses like that are in the minority. Most trust is lost unintentionally.

Many companies and business professionals do things that undermine their credibility and whittle away the trust in customer relationships. Front-line pros who serve customers directly make little mistakes that stick out in the minds of customers and tear at the threads of their experience.

Sometimes it’s one big incident that will destroy the trust. Other times, it’s repeated, seemingly innocuous things that make customers want to walk away.

Here are big and little trust-killer mistakes to avoid.

The first seven are companywide issues. The last five are individual issues. All can be avoided with more attention to detail.

1. Lack of appreciation

166289877When customers leave, it’s almost always because they don’t feel appreciated. Nearly 70% of customers who quit doing business with a company said it was because they were treated with indifference.

Customers felt like the people they dealt with didn’t care about them. That’s the same reason people walk away from romantic relationships and friendships. People want to feel appreciated and loved in all they do.

So customers don’t trust organizations that don’t show their appreciation. Beyond thanking customers every time they contact you, make it a practice to show appreciation quarterly — with snail mail cards, email, promotions or special customer events.

2. Short honeymoons

78717228New customers need more help. They don’t know the processes and protocol for doing business with your company — but they expect that each transaction and contact will be as simple as it would be if they’d been working with you for decades.

Yet some companies show customers the red carpet that first time and expect them to figure it out from then on. It’s kind of like the guy who shows up with flowers, chocolate and compliments on the first date. Then it’s the remote control, dirty socks and “bring-me-a-beer” requests from there.

A short romance will lead to a quick reduction in trust.

Try the 10 Red Carpets Approach: Flag customer accounts for the first 10 transactions so every employee who comes in contact with customers during those transactions knows to show extra care and offer more assistance.

3. Unfulfilled promises

180784770Customers believe what you say. Fail to do what you say, and they’ll lose trust immediately.

This isn’t just about old bait-and-switch models that naturally leave customers feeling cheated. Promises are left unfulfilled when deadlines are missed, responses to requests for help or information are delayed or ignored, orders are incorrect or wait staff are unreliable.

Promises build expectations. When expectations aren’t met, companies lose credibility.

So regularly check your printed, quoted and posted promises to see that they’re being met.

4. No connection

Customers don’t expect to be friends with every organization they do business with. But they’ll trust companies they sense they have a connection with.

That kind of trust-building connection can come in the form of being remembered, which can be accomplished by keeping data on things like last purchases, visits, preferences and/or more personal info such as family members, recent trips or accomplishments.

Front-line customer reps with access to that data can then act on it with comments like, “I see you haven’t been here in a few months. Can I show you what’s been updated since then?”

5. No rewards

Over time, customers’ expectations grow, and they’ll want more out of their relationship with an organization — much like how one person in a young relationship starts to look for a bigger commitment, and perhaps a ring and future together.

Customers’ trust grows as their rewards for being loyal — and possibly becoming advocates — grow.

First customers need to be recognized for their loyalty — perhaps with “gold” or “elite” status so all employees and fellow customers know about their loyalty. Then, to show that trust is mutual, rewards such as access to specialized help and trials to new products and services should be given.

6. Cover-ups

460256035It’s well-known that the cover-up to a crime is almost always worse than the crime itself.

The same goes for a business mistake. Covering up, rather than fessing up, will cause far more damage than the actual error.

On the bright side, customers understand that mistakes happen and won’t stop trusting you for a slip-up. But covering up an error, only to have it revealed later, is a deal-breaker.

So when mistakes occur, notify customers immediately, giving them as much time as possible to adjust. Then tell them how you’ll fix issues and take steps to avoid them in the future.

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