Earning Trust to Build Long Term Customer Relationships

Al-Nashir Bandali
Posted: 12/14/2010

So how can you keep your customers for longer? There are probably many answers to this elusive question but today, I hope to shed some light on some of the triggers we have uncovered here at CSM and share them with you.

Background

With the world economy finely balanced on fragile recovery, it is important that organizations reduce their operating costs by cutting out wasteful processes and unnecessary costs.

One of the most prominent themes to gain traction in recent years has been the focus on the total customer experience, getting the Voice of the Customer broadly across an organisations departments and as far down as individual processes and people.

In a nutshell

Defining your customer experience essentially involves optimising your business processes to better serve the needs of your customers’ building long lasting relationships rather than short lived transactions. But how can your organisation make this change?? From our point of view, it all starts with insight through customer research.

Using Customer Research to Build Customer Relationships

One of the biggest hurdles to overcome between an organisation and customer is the issues of trust. This is mainly due to its core principle of it having to be earned rather than bought, sold or sugar coated.

On an annual basis, Research company Edelman publish a report entitled the "Trust Barometer" which is recognised by the industry as a leading indicator of how customers perceive trust across industry sectors.On the issue of trust, Edelman identified those customer perceptions where lowest in industries such as Banks, Media and Insurance companies and Technology, Health Care and Technology sectors gaining the highest perception scores ranging from 61% to 80% respectively.

Using Trust as a catalyst for Customer Retention

"To expect with assurance; assume to ones expectations in line with perceptions" – Anon

Key Benefits

  • Better, more productive relationships
  • Better perceptions of Brand and Reputation
  • Increased Customer Retention and higher Switching Costs
  • Increase WOM, Referrals contributing to enhancing bottom line revenue growth

To build trust into the relationships you have between your organisation and customers can be one of the biggest hurdles to overcome when optimising your business processes to deliver a best in class customer experience through a company-wide, customer centric culture.

Trusted Advisor has broken down trust within organizations into the following elements:

Elements Trust

Definition

Trustworthiness

How much to buyer/client trusts the seller or consultant

Credibility

Words and credentials

Reliability

How others perceive the consistent of our actions, and our actions connections with our words (integrity)

Intimacy

How secure or safe the client feels sharing with us

Self-Orientation

Amount of focus on the client, paying attention to whatever it is that helps them succeed or makes them feel insecure.

From the customer’s point of view, it shows how your organisation is committed to a best in class service and can consistently deliver a high standard of quality that should be embodied in your organisations culture and it’s marketing where customer expectations are initially set. Sometimes this is called a value proposition or brand promise.

In a nutshell

The reason why trust is so important is that it allows organisations to build long term customer relationships by creating a collaborative environment based on the customer’s individual needs.

Customer Service Measurement (CSM) is a customer research agency that specialises in customer insight by researching what your customers think and turning that feedback into practical and actionable recommendations.

Al-Nashir Bandali
Posted: 12/14/2010

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