Trust and Respect
If you could have anything you wanted, what would it be? Would it be a million dollars, a new home, that new car? How about the trust and respect of your customers? That doesn't seem like much to ask. But those who have been in business for a long time will tell you it is not as easy as it seems.
Like the million dollars, or the new home, trust and respect are earned over the long term, they don't simply occur because we wish for them. These are earned by working hard each day to become a better business owner than we were the day before. Our customers expect us to be trustworthy and respectful to them but most keep a wary eye on newcomers to make sure they fulfill that expectation.
Five keys to building the trust and respect of our customers.
1. Always do what we say we will do. Simple - not always. There are times when we miscalculate and a project costs more than we thought it would. Our customers shouldn't bear the burden of our mistakes. Complete the job at the price offered in the original bid and we build both trust and respect.
2. Complete projects on time. We have all been in situations where a customer doesn't provide all the information or supplies necessary to complete a job within the time allotted. However, a project should never be completed past deadline when we had everything necessary to execute on time.
3. Don't over hype! We have all lost sales to people that pitch with a ball that is to slippery to hit. Don't give in to the temptation to promise better results than you know or believe your product can deliver. Nothing damages trust more than high expectations and poor results.
4. Deliver more than they expect. Go the extra mile; provide service that goes beyond your customers expectations. Respond to complaints or problems quickly and make sure your customer is satisfied. Many businesses have flourished simply by delivering more than their customers expect.
5. Be honest about what it takes to create what a customer needs. If you are a website designer, don't settle for an email link if your customer needs an online form. Deliver whatever is necessary to accomplish the goals of each customer. Be innovative, bold and creative. That is half of the fun of being in business anyway.
Customers have high expectations, but if their expectations aren't met trust and respect will fall away like a new home with a bad foundation. A product or service that meets customer expectations helps build the strong foundation necessary to support your business for years to come.