There's an interesting dichotomy happening right now in the United States: increasing distrust. According to the 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer, trust in the U.S. as a nation has fallen 10 points since 2017.
With factors such as a global pandemic, an uncertain economic climate, and untrustworthy news sources, it's no wonder that today's consumers are becoming more wary of the people and institutions they thought they could trust.
So how do you build trust with clients at your retail business in a world where people are more hesitant to trust salespeople, business owners, social media influencers, and anybody else who might attack them for having an opinion? Especially if, given your business size, you have hundreds or even thousands of clients?
In this article, we'll cover five ways you can start building trust with your clients—and prospective clients—despite the challenges.
Why is having strong client relationships important?
Before we dive into our tips on building client trust, let's go over why having lasting client relationships is important.
- Trusted companies earn more business: A Harvard Business Review study found that trusted companies outperform their peers by up to 400% in terms of total market value. What's more, customers who trust a brand are 88% more likely to become a repeat customer.
- Strong client relationships build brand loyalty: Customers are more likely to be loyal to businesses they have a strong relationship with. Having these relationships helps ensure customers don't shop with your competitors and visit your store on a regular basis.
- Increased brand visibility: Happy clients are more likely to share with family and friends about the positive experiences they've had with your business. The word of mouth will increase visibility for your brand and introduce your business to more potential clients.
Five ways to build client trust at your retail business
Now that we've covered why building relationships with your clients is important, let's go over how you can go about it at your business.
1. Get to know their likes and dislikes
The first step toward building genuine relationships and trust with your clients is by simply getting to know them. Training your sales associates to talk to their clients like a friend throughout the sales process goes a long way in learning more about customer preferences.
For example, if a sales associate learns a little about a client's personal life—such as when their birthday is or if they're married—they'll be able to make personalized offers to exceed client expectations and keep them coming back to your store. The more your sales team knows about customer preferences, the more personalized the shopping experience will be.
2. Stay in contact
Next, customer trust isn't built overnight. Fostering long-term relationships by reaching out consistently is what will build that trust over time.
This goes hand and hand with knowing your client—if your sales team knows a client has a birthday coming up, that's the perfect time to reach out with a personalized offer or discount to get them back in your store.
3. Talk to your clients on the channels they're already on
Another way to build client trust is to talk to your clients on the right channels, particularly the ones they're already on. For example, if you have a younger customer base, they're more likely to respond well to text messages over a phone call.
Text messages are also seen by clients far more than emails. The average open rate for an SMS campaign is as high as 98%, while email is only 20%. Ultimately, you need to know your target market and what channels they're on—whether that's text, social media, or email—and go the extra mile to cater to their communication style.
4. Offer a customer loyalty program
Customer loyalty programs are another great way to enhance the customer experience and build customer trust. In a PYMNTS report, 79% of consumers surveyed said they participate in at least one retail membership, subscription, or loyalty program.
By getting your customer base on a loyalty program, they'll have just one more reason to go to your store over a competitor that doesn't offer a similar program.
5. Showcase customer testimonials and reviews
Finally, if you have good reviews from your current customers or compelling customer testimonials, show them off in your store, on your website, or wherever makes sense for your business. While hearing something from a business owner is nice, customers are far more likely to listen to shoppers like them when looking for an unbiased opinion.
If you don't already have reviews or testimonials, talk to your already loyal customers and ask them to leave a review of your store or share a story about a positive experience they've had. You could even send out customer feedback surveys to get good quotes to use on your website or social media accounts.
How Clientbook can help
Building client trust is easy to do when you only have a handful of clients, but what if you have hundreds, or even thousands? How do you get to know all of them on a personal level all on your own? Luckily, with service providers like Clientbook, you don't have to.
With Clientbook, a digital clienteling platform, the customer trust tips we've listed above can be automated and scaled no matter your business size. It can help with everything from the client onboarding process, to reminding your sales team when to reach out, to storing important information.
Business owners looking to build lasting client relationships need to know it all starts with trust. And a loyal customer base isn't built overnight. By getting to know your shoppers, staying in constant communication with them, and utilizing a comprehensive platform for clienteling, you'll be well on your way to building trust.
Ready to learn more about how to build long-term relationships with your current customers? Schedule a demo today to learn how Clientbook can help.