Monday, January 19, 2015

Building trust

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     The trust your customers place in you is extremely important. Trust is the bond between you and your customers. Trust results in repeat business and referrals.

     Building customer trust happens every time you fulfill your customer's expectations. Every job you complete and every product you sell can result in future business--from the customer and from their referrals.

     I learned many valuable lessons from my father. When you do a job, he said, do it well and do it on time. I remembered this every time I started up a business.

     Example: When I left corporate America, I started up a graphic arts firm in downtown Manhattan. My customers were brokerage firms, financial people, banks and insurance companies. These people wanted a supplier who could deliver the goods--on time and without errors. On my end, meeting tight deadlines meant having reliable employees, the latest equipment, and setting up a 24-hour operation. With every job, we built customer trust. The job itself was the vehicle--what we were selling was customer trust. The word spread throughout the Wall Street community. 

     In every business, large or small, delivering what the customer wants is what spells success. That trusting relationship is what growth is all about. If you drop the ball, you run the risk of losing your customer.

     Examples: The baker who delivers the wedding cake late has lost a customer. The financial planner who loses his customer's money has lost a customer. The holistic practitioner whose clients go away feeling less than optimal has lost clients. The attorney who drags out the process of drawing up a will loses a customer. The landscaper who plants hostas instead of daylilies has lost a customer.

     Bad news travels faster than good. When you betray a customer's trust, you've told that customer to go someplace else. More importantly, you've lost all the referrals the customer might have brought you. 

     Keep it positive. Keep it right. Keep it on time. This keeps the focus on building trust. 

     Building trust is what you're selling. It keeps the focus where it should be--not on the product or service you're providing, but on the long term relationship.  

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