Customers are the bread and butter of any successful business. Without them, your company is nothing more than a name and a logo that people might recognise, but have no desire to explore further.
When launching your business, you may be concerned about how immediately you will attract consumers. The early weeks can be a struggle as you are still doing your best to get your name out there but once you have established a solid customer base, you will find that awareness of your brand will spread, and you gain more and more and more customers as the months and years go on.
And, once you have this customer loyalty, you need to ensure that you maintain it. You cannot expect that people will naturally remain with your company. There will be times where your company is challenged when it encounters a new competitor and perhaps finds itself embroiled in scandal. The key to keeping customers during this time is doing right by them.
Customers will expect quality. While it can (but should not) seem convenient to scrimp on manufacturing and similar safety checks when putting your product out into the world, this is something that you absolutely need to avoid.
It doesn’t matter if you have a product that is solely internet- and cloud-based or if you are putting physical products in stores, you need to go to great lengths and further to knowing that your product is fit for purpose. You can ensure that this does not happen by looking into CPSIA testing, which will help you discover whether or not your product is fit and suitable for commercial release.
Without undertaking these measures, your company runs the risk of causing harm; physically, mentally, and financially, to whoever uses your product. It could be that your product contains harmful chemicals or does not fulfil the needs that your consumers require. Furthermore, ignoring the potential for disaster will not only turn customers against you and ruin your reputation, but it will also make it a challenge to recover from any bad publicity.
There will be times where your customers will need your support, and it is imperative that you can provide them with what they require. It could be that they are dissatisfied with the product, it could be they are having technical issues; whatever it might be, you need to ensure that you and your customer service team is able to help them with whatever they need.
This includes your team being available at any time and being well-trained in the software or product knowledge to be able to effectively deal with any issues. Furthermore, too many people have customer service horror stories after dealing with certain companies. It is up to you to ensure that you give them a wholly different experience.
This can be through thorough and timely responses, understanding that every customer has different needs, and doing your best to solve any issues. Poor customer service is too common in many industries, and it can have a detrimental effect on your business to fall foul of similar techniques.
Too many times have innocent customers been burned by companies who lack transparency under a guise of caring for the consumer. To build a successful business that retains the trust of its customers throughout its existence, you need to ensure that you approach your business’ operations with a degree of transparency.
This kind of thing includes owning up to your own mistakes. This is perhaps one of the most essential aspects that make your business as transparent as possible. We have seen examples in recent years of businesses hiding breaches and further information leaks from their consumers. This can inspire massive mistrust with existing customers and can make it hard to recover your reputation.
Furthermore, ensuring that you do not take advantage of consumers by being wholly honest about what your company does and not hiding anything such as data mining and selling information to companies and governments that will use this information to manipulate your customers is essential. This kind of thing can have ruinous effects on your company and demonstrates a sort of shady business practice that has no place in the modern world.
Above all, though, it pays to be genuine when looking to appeal to your customers. People do not enjoy being sold to, and so should they feel like you have only the company’s interests at heart above theirs, they will be able to tell.
Showing a blatant lack of respect for customers is an absolute faux pas in business, but often, many enterprises get away with it due to them being the primary option (see: cable and internet companies in the US) in the industry. While it is nice to be all smiles and supposed interest in your customers’ needs, this kind of tactic is very easy to spot, and it can easily put existing and potential customers off.
Furthermore, genuineness comes with you needing to back up your claims. You can talk about doing things differently to businesses similar to yours, but you have to go through with these claims too. Otherwise, you will only come across as untrustworthy and while you might get away with it once or twice, too many instances can and will have a disastrous effect on your business.
Do It Right
Doing right by your customers is something that every business needs to strive for. Without your customers, you are nothing at all, and so making that extra bit of effort to ensure that you are honest, supportive, transparent, and authentic will go a long way towards gaining and maintaining loyal customers and an excellent reputation.
It is not hard to do the right thing when it comes to our customers, but there are many businesses out there who engage in subterranean practices that hurt and take advantage of their customers without them realising it. However, as with most things in life, the truth will eventually come out and so making sure that you do not engage in such practices is the best way to maintaining trust and helping your business grow even more.