4 Key Ways to Increase Customers' Trust

Bloomberg Businessweek Research Services' research asked high level management of multiple companies - What is your company’s top priority? The results were staggering - an overwhelming 80% of the respondents believed that establishing customer proximity and offering them differential experience was their top priority.

You speak with the top management of any company and they would passionately empathize with the results. Maintaining and augmenting customer relations is featuring on the regular task lists of company managers.

Behind the success of this endeavour, though, lies a seemingly naive yet strategically complex task – building trust. Human emotions lack the distinction between personal and professional life and tend to present themselves most innocuously. The building blocks of business and personal relationships are almost the same. Like one could have no personal relationship without trust, the same tends to be the case with business relations too. When companies want their customers to be loyal to them, they have to understand that the evident precursor to loyalty and strong relationships is 'trust'.

Let us take an example of an ecommerce Store. The store would be flawed if it believes that stocking the most desired products would do the trick for it. While it is essential to win customers, they wouldn’t purchase frequently unless they share a bond with the store. Given that they have to divulge their valuable information, is the store offering them the confidence to do so? With instances of data theft picking up in numbers, the customers are wary of sharing their personal information, especially such details as their credit/ debit card numbers, their address and others. What more? With limited time on hand, customers expect the store to do most of the homework on their behalf. Develop interesting schemes, customize offerings according to the customers’ past purchase record, provide buying suggestions and send regular updates about new stock. Such customer desire cuts across industries and professions. Wealth managers, IT companies, hospitals and all others have to adhere to customer guidelines or bow out of the industry.

While building trust, in the unprecedentedly competitive environment of the 21st century, might look like a daunting task; it is the root which can lead to the much envied competitive advantage. As customers trust businesses, they feel more satisfied and eventually patronize the company. This is something that can assist companies in fulfilling their long term objectives.
The most effective way to consistently increase customer trust is through customer relationship management (CRM). CRM solutions are mostly interpreted as software which help companies in capturing data. However, these solutions have a multitude of other functionalities which can be decoded by the ones who delve deeper. These solutions, in fact, can be a panacea in the hands of the marketers to augment and elevate customer loyalty and trust.
There are various facets of a company’s relationship with its customers that can deepen the level of trust. Following are some important ways in which a CRM solution can help enhance customer trust more emphatically.

Human touch: What one can simply not ignore is the human element of a business relationship. One can never have a relationship with what is lifeless and that is why one requires continuous customer engagement. The advent of social CRM has quite ardently attended to this element. Progressive companies are proactively engaging with customers with the help of social CRM. Not only are they initiating interactive competitions and floating schemes through the knowledge about their customers’ activity on the social media, they are even receiving more referrals and recommendations from the existing patrons of the company.

Customization: There are two models on which businesses work today:
1. Perceived Customization
2. Complete Customization
The former is about developing different options to make customers believe that their individuality is being attended to. The latter, on the contrary, is about customizing each offering as per the dynamics of the customer requirement. In both these cases, it is essential to be in possession of exhaustive customer information. A CRM solution would help you do that by generating insights about what customers have been demanding in the past and how their preferences have shaped over a period of time. With such information, companies can proactively offer customization to customers and prospects instead of waiting for the customers to ask for it. The former leads to more trust and more customers.

Individual interactions: Today's customers need to talk. They might contact a company's call centres. Live chatting on the website is the all new medium of customer interactions. With the help of a CRM solution, companies can keep track of a customer's previous interactions and increase efficiency by viewing it along with other related information. Customers grow increasingly irate when made to wait or provided the incorrect details, a CRM solution provides quick access to pertinent information.

Relevant offers: I recently bought a PS3 game and a novel by a renowned Indian author from an ecommerce store. Since then, I have been receiving offers and updates about similar games and books through my preferred channel with options to filter future recommendations. While I might not visit the e-store very frequently, these cross sell offers might encourage me to make a fresh purchase. What this infers is that the schemes should be relevant and tailored to the customer’s requirement using historical and current customer information. In addition, frequency of purchase and responses to various kinds of campaigns helps shortlist products with the best value for a particular individual.

An effective CRM software, hence, can assist a company in not only collecting the most pertinent data about its customers; it can also abet the process of trust building, which eventually leads to satisfaction and loyalty. What matters, though, is how effectively the CRM solution is utilized to optimize customer experience and lower churn.

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