3 Tips For Building Trust With Your Customers

By Serenity Gibbons

Without a doubt, customer trust is one of your company’s most valuable assets. When people trust your brand to deliver on its promises, they’ll buy more from you, gush and share on social media, and leave positive reviews. Those are attractive outcomes, especially at a time of fierce competition and inflation. But you can’t just hope that trust will sprout up organically. You need to invest in strategies that help foster it between you and your customers.

Fortunately, you’re not going to be swimming against the tide because customers are very open to trusting businesses. As the 2024 Edelman Trust Barometer Global Report points out, consumers trust companies more than they trust any other entity. The trust factor was particularly high for family-owned and privately-held businesses, checking in at 70% and 62%, respectively. However, even publicly traded companies earned the trust of 58% of Edelman’s survey participants.

These figures reveal an important truth: Most customers aren’t putting up walls against trusting your business. On the contrary, they’re open to a trusting relationship. Your job is to leverage their open-mindedness by implementing a few practices designed to establish, increase, and sustain customer trust.

1. Get to know your customers

When you understand what matters to your customers, you can give them the exceptional experiences they crave. One way to gather buyer insights is to ask them to fill out surveys to gauge their preferences. This type of zero-party data will enable you to personalize your interactions with consumers while also offering truly valuable service and support.

Prioritizing the collection of zero-party data shows that you respect each customer’s unique needs. As customers have increasingly relevant interactions with your company, they’ll be more apt to become brand loyal because they feel an authentic connection with your company.

There’s a secondary benefit to prioritizing zero-party data, too: You can use it in your marketing efforts. For instance, you can lean on your ad campaigns as a source for zero-party data collection – a typically untapped resource for customer feedback. Marketing platform ViralGains notes that these types of “zero-party ads” can help you generate valuable audience segments, allowing you to target consumers who are more apt to convert.

2. Live up to your hype

Trust can’t happen if you’re saying one thing and doing another. You can’t hype up your products, services, or support only to underperform. Therefore, you have to make sure that you follow through on whatever you tell customers you’re going to do.

To ensure that your performance is always consistent in customers’ eyes, let them know what to expect upfront. That way, your customers’ expectations will be aligned with what you can feasibly do. Although you can (and should) set expectations from the first customer touchpoint, service platform provider Rocketlane emphasizes the importance of setting expectations during customer onboarding.

The onboarding period happens immediately after a customer buys something from you or, in the case of B2B exchanges, signs a contract with your company. This is a pivotal moment. After all, you and your customers are establishing how you’ll move forward. By laying out expectations, you take away any mysteries and reduce the chance of misunderstandings. Being pragmatic in this way can fuel higher degrees of clarity-driven trust.

3. Show your appreciation

Your company couldn’t turn a profit without your customers. But are you showing them just how important they are to you? Thanking them regularly can generate trust in the long run.

There are many methods to shower customers with gratitude and appreciation. You could send out coupons, invite repeat buyers to exclusive events, or ask customers to become beta testers for new merchandise or services. As the saying goes, the sky’s the limit. If you’re finding it tough to know exactly how to say “Thanks!”, check out what a top-trusted brand like The North Face is doing.

The North Face’s robust rewards program is called the XPLR Pass. Pass members can build up points to use on future purchases. Additionally, they may be able to field test apparel, as well as enjoy frictionless returns. Though many companies have similar membership and loyalty programs, The North Face’s model is especially powerful due to its extensive features and benefits. Essentially, The North Face makes trusting its brand a more rewarding experience for buyers.

You can’t assume that trust is just going to take root between your company and your customers. You have to nurture it by taking action right away. The sooner you do, the sooner you can start getting all the advantages of becoming one of the most trusted names in your marketplace.

This article originally appeared on Forbes.