Businesses large and small rely on trust to motivate customers to part with their cash, and to return to use a service or buy products again. Building trust is, therefore, one of the key areas to focus on whether you’re starting up your own business or taking a step back from a well-established business to look at ways in which you can strengthen your bonds with existing and new customers. In order to achieve a deeper level of trust and loyalty, follow the advice below so that your brand is returned to time and again.

Reputation 

With online review sites becoming increasingly important when it comes to business, you’ll want to ensure that your reputation is squeaky-clean and impressive when prospective customers are checking you out. From eBay to Amazon to TripAdvisor, the ability of customers to quickly rate your service can be both a help and a hindrance, with negative reviews driving custom away while positive ones show you’re a reputable and reliable service. Work hard to impress each and every customer so that your reputation proceeds you online and in person.

Professionalism 

A business needs to look and feel professional for customers to trust in its offerings. Most of us will have visited a company website that’s a little outdated and poorly designed, and quickly decided to navigate off the page in search of a more professional-looking outfit, and this is just one example of the trust issues that develop when you don’t look the part. Especially important for small, growing businesses, ensure that your professionalism is upheld through a good logo, brand, and web design and that your communications with clients are always professional and knowledgeable so that you meet the expected standard of trust with customers.

Data and Payments 

It’s been in the news for half a decade or so now – most recently with the Facebook data breach scandal – but it’s imperative that your company has measures in place to protect consumer data and payment methods. If you’ve not yet made the shift to EMV terminals for payments, it is a good idea to invest in this more secure way of receiving plastic cash. Likewise, ensure you’re abiding by all the data laws in each trading bloc – Europe, for instance, just updated theirs to be a lot more strict – so that you’re trusted with the details of your clientele.

Targeted Marketing 

When it comes to bringing in new customers, you’ll want to have a good marketing team or strategy that shows your brand and your business to the right kind of consumers, and this can be achieved through targeted marketing techniques that only show your advert to those who fit the right sort of demographic. It’s a new and growing form of marketing, and one of its benefits is to increase trust in your brand: if it’s seen advertised online, it’s granted an aura of professionalism, market forces, and experience that customers will feel safe trading with.

Rewards 

In the past decade, most big retail brands have cottoned on to the beneficial effects of customer loyalty cards. As well as being your own little bit of advertising tucked in the wallets and purses of one-time customers, it also provides a huge incentive for those customers to return and when they begin seeing the rewards for visiting again and again, you’ll establish loyalty through a mutually beneficial relationship with your core customer base. Offering competition rewards every now and then will likewise peak interest, giving you an excuse to email those customers whose details you have.

Public Relations 

PR is a huge industry, mostly gathered around the larger global brands who court publicity when it’s good, and firefight publicity when it’s bad. They prepare press releases, and they offer statements on issues that happen to concern their brand. All companies that might now and again find themselves in the deep end where negative publicity is concerned should remember two things: one, that most publicity is good publicity; and two, that a good PR team can turn a bad story into a good one, maintaining and gaining customers’ trust while also achieving a marketing objective in free publicity. Know your PR strategy, and plan for both positive and negative scenarios.

Business relies on mutual trust between retailer and consumer, business and customer. A lack of trust can damage profits and cost a company some of the most valuable customers. It’s therefore important to avoid trust issues in business by taking care to establish the loyalty and professionalism that the above tips recommend.