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Service Desk Solutions: Building Customer Trust

Business trust

3-Step Plan for Building Customer Trust

If there is one constant throughout all of business, it’s the importance of customer trust. Trust defines your reputation, and reputation can make a startup thrive while breaking an established company to pieces.

A company can have all the experience and skill in the world, but if they have a reputation of being slow, unresponsive to customers, or not meeting deadlines, that experience adds up to very little. And once that nugget of knowledge is out there, it’s tough to shake.

At DRS, part of our mission statement is, “Build strong networks, relationships, and trust with our customers, employees, and business partners.” Establishing and maintaining trust is embedded in the core of what we do, and in the reputation that we carry as an End-To-End Managed Services Provider. Building trust takes time and hard work, but abiding these three principles will get you the results you want:

Communicate effectively:

communicationPersonally, I have a tough time putting my trust in someone until I’ve shaken his or her hand. To that end, I always give my customers the respect they deserve and conduct face-to-face meetings.

It’s become commonplace in the business world to rely on phone calls and email to conduct business, but both of these tools lack the personal touch that is necessary to build a solid relationship. Certainly, they have their place, but nothing beats a personal encounter.

During the meeting, get to know your client. Find something on the personal side that you can relate to and work with that, be it cars, sports, or a local news story. Even the weather can be a reliable icebreaker to relax your client and get them talking.

Know your abilities:

This pertains to your personal abilities and those of your company. Knowing what you can do and what you cannot is critical to forging successful working relationships and building trust with a client.

If there is something they want that you’re unable to do, tell them you will work with them to help find a solution. Never promise what you cannot deliver. Stick with what you know so you can deliver a high-quality service or product in a timely manner.

And never let the customer think you can do something, then later try to figure it out. This is a recipe for disaster and will hinder the process of building that relationship, not to mention will result in a subpar end-result. Do what it is you say you can do, and do it well.

Be honest and quickly address issues:

Honesty-is-the-best-policyIn the event there is a major issue where something did not go as planned, be proactive and tell your customer before they discover the issue themselves. Being honest and forthright with you customer can help you avoid a plethora of harmful consequences:

• The issue is left unresolved and gets worse

• Ignoring it causes irreparable damage

• The customer loses money or customers of their own

• Trust goes out the window and you lose a client

• You appear to not know what you’re doing

The best course of action is to get in touch with the customer as quickly as possible, and let them know what the status is and your plan of action. Show them you’re on top of it and are already taking actions to remedy the issue. In the end, they will appreciate your honesty and (maybe not immediately) will respect the fact that you were upfront with them. This will go a long way in building trust.

And hide nothing! Do not insult your client’s intelligence and be vague, or try to put the blame elsewhere. Business owners don’t get where they are by being suckers – if you’re playing games, they will know.

Use these principles effectively, and you will soon be on your way to building a trustful relationship. It’s worked for me for many years. It always makes me feel good when I bring along a new team member to introduce them to a customer, and the customer’s first question is, “We aren’t losing you are we?”

It gives me a sense of pride that I have built that strong of a relationship and trust with that customer, and it shows new team members what to strive for. It’s a big part of our End-To-End philosophy and something that we take very seriously. It takes a lot of effort, but it will pay for itself time and time again with repeat business, referrals, and a solid professional reputation.

 

Jake Rogers DRS

Jake Rogers

VP Service Delivery at DRS LLC