17 Ways Startups Can Earn—and Keep—Customer Trust
From Basecamp to Microsoft Teams, here are 16 answers to the question, "What are the most helpful team collaboration tools (free/cheap) that you use at your startup, and why?"
- Maintain Multiple Channels for Customer Support
- Implement a Strong Social Responsibility Program
- Secure Sensitive Customer Data
- Help Clients Resolve Product and Service Problems
- Keep that "Active" Status Green
- Include Customer Compliments
- Provide Exceptional Customer Service
- Be Open and Honest Regarding Major Changes
- Own Your Mistakes
- Reward Your Customers
- Allow Customers to Cancel at Any Time
- Request Testimonials
- Refuse to Show Ads on Your Platform
- Avoid Shortcuts and Clickbait
- Respond Within One Business Day
- Build a Strong Brand Identity and Reputation
- Prioritize Customer Education
Maintain Multiple Channels for Customer Support
As a start-up, building trust with our customers is key to our success. That's why we make it a priority to be responsive and accessible to our customers' needs and concerns.
We offer multiple channels for customer support, including e-mail, phone, and live chat, and we have a dedicated customer support team that is trained to provide prompt and helpful assistance. We know our customers are the lifeblood of our business, and this commits us to do everything we can to meet their needs and exceed their expectations.
By being responsive and accessible, we aim to build a strong relationship of trust with our customers that will help us succeed over the long term.
Ilija Sekulov, Marketing and SEO, Mailbutler
Implement a Strong Social Responsibility Program
We believe that as a business; we have a responsibility to impact society and the environment positively, and we are committed to doing so. In doing that, we have implemented several practices, including environmentally sustainable practices, ethical business practices, and charitable giving.
For example, we try to reduce our carbon footprint by using renewable energy sources and reducing waste. We also source our materials ethically and ensure that our employees are treated fairly. We also donate a portion of our profits to charitable organizations that align with our values and mission.
We understand that by prioritizing social responsibility, we can build trust with our customers and enhance our brand reputation. We are committed to continuing to improve our social responsibility program and making a positive impact as we grow as a business.
Will Gill, Event Entertainer, DJ Will Gill
Secure Sensitive Customer Data
Ensuring our cyber security measures are strong is vital for protecting our clients' information and gaining their trust. As cyber-attacks become more prevalent, reviewing your company's tech stack is vital to keep thieves from getting a hold of sensitive data.
Because when an attack hits, business can grind to a quick halt when there's no digital protection. Not to mention the time and expense of playing catch-up. Consolidating software licenses around single vendors and conducting a cloud audit are actionable ways to minimize the risk of a cyberattack.
While this takes time and resources, the additional security is worth its weight in gold, as it enhances consumer confidence in doing business with you now and down the road.
Daniel Kroytor, Founder and Director, Tailored Pay
Help Clients Resolve Product and Service Problems
Helping clients solve problems through great customer service is an important step in creating and maintaining customer trust. Commit to resolving any issues your customers may have with your products or services. You must endeavor to resolve their difficulties as soon as possible while remaining respectful and sympathetic.
I believe multi-channel communication between customers and service representatives is an essential component of providing excellent customer service. It ensures that customer service representatives respond quickly and consistently and that they come up with inventive solutions to every problem.
Consumers like customer service representatives’ friendly and compassionate demeanors. A positive customer service experience can enhance consumer trust and make them more likely to connect favorably with your company in the future.
Andrew Dale, Technical Director, CloudTech24
Keep that "Active" Status Green
Being active on social media platforms is always a good idea. Whether it's interacting with customers through comments, stories, etc., building up a relationship with your audience is vital.
The strategy can be polished by personalizing your content towards your audience, i.e., addressing them by name, creating a brand that resonates with customers, and showing empathy and understanding. This leads to an emotional connection developing, making customers feel a sense of belonging and fostering loyalty.
No one will trust a company that keeps to itself and knows very little about its target audience.
Derek Sall, Founder and Financial Expert, Life and My Finances
Include Customer Compliments
Customers are likelier to trust their fellow customers than the companies they purchase from. Actual customers' experiences are frequently considered more unbiased and significant than a company's straightforward marketing.
So, it is in your best interest to solicit evaluations from happy clients and share their positive experiences to promote and protect them. You may give your offering and messaging more credibility if real customers are endorsing your goods, services, or customer experiences.
Rene Delgado, Founder and CEO, Shop Indoor Golf
Provide Exceptional Customer Service
I believe that giving outstanding service to customers is essential to gaining and keeping their trust. This includes responding quickly to customer questions, addressing any complaints or difficulties, and going above and beyond to ensure consumers are delighted with their experience.
I am confident that by demonstrating that you value your customers and are committed to their pleasure, you will establish a loyal customer base that trusts your brand.
Timothy Allen, Sr. Corporate Investigator, Corporate Investigation Consulting
Be Open and Honest Regarding Major Changes
In the coming weeks, I am transitioning my startup from 100% free to a freemium model. To maintain customer trust, I am planning to be completely open with my users about why this change is taking place and how it will impact their experience.
My strategy is to explain that I'm striving to build a business that I can sustain and grow. In order to do this, I'll need to provide premium services to a segment of users. It wouldn't be fair to the premium users if they could get the same results that the free users do, so my goal is to explain that and still provide a fair experience for both user groups.
By being open with my users, I hope to foster trust and loyalty and demonstrate my dedication to providing a valuable service that caters to both groups of users.
Axel DeAngelis, Founder, Jumpcoast
Own Your Mistakes
Mistakes happen in any business, but how you handle them can make or break customer trust. By taking responsibility for any missteps and proactively working to address them, you can show your commitment to providing high-quality products or services and prioritize the needs of your customers.
Realize that your customers are ultimately humans, not machines. Therefore, that connection is a primary factor in the business relationship. This can involve being transparent about what went wrong and what we are working on to prevent similar issues from occurring in the future.
By owning your mistakes and showing a willingness to learn from them, you can establish your brand as trustworthy and reliable even in the face of challenges. This can help build long-term customer relationships based on mutual respect and a shared commitment to excellence.
Harman Singh, Director, Cyphere
Reward Your Consumers
Offering the consumer a small bonus is the best approach to establishing a favorable rapport and maintaining that relationship. This can take the form of a free e-book as a lead magnet, a discount for first-time buyers, or a free item at checkout.
Consumer trust is especially vital for companies that cannot rely on their brand reputation, and gaining it is easier than you think. If you have high-quality products but no one is ready to take a chance on a new company, I believe sweetening the deal is a terrific method to attract people in the door. For a reason, it's a tried-and-true strategy.
Adam Crossling, Head of Marketing, Zenzero
Allow Customers to Cancel at Any Time
If they were on a competitive supply rate in the past, it's not guaranteed because suppliers change rates frequently, but they're able to switch to another competitive rate that's currently available.
Essentially, by using our company for their energy needs, our customers are not locked into any commitment. They can cancel at any time with no repercussions. This instills trust in our customers.
Andrew Meyer, CEO, Arbor
Customers today are incredibly jaded and cynical, understandably so, as we are bombarded with exaggerations, misinformation, and outright lies daily. It is therefore our responsibility to reassure suspicious customers as much as possible, and that means providing social proof.
One way to maximize the effectiveness of testimonials, reviews, and case studies is to frequently ask for these from customers, even if we expect them to say no. This highlights to customers that you are actually asking your customers for this content and not simply making it up yourself.
No doubt, customers would find it deeply suspicious if your website is peppered with testimonials and reviews, but they never have the opportunity to provide some themselves. Therefore, to highlight the sincerity of your social proof, you should regularly and consistently ask to publish feedback, even if only to highlight the honesty of your existing testimonials.
Oliver Savill, CEO and Founder, Assessment Day
Refuse to Show Ads on Your Platform
By not monetizing our app through advertising, we are showing our customers that we take their privacy seriously. We regularly update our security software and protocols, because our customers trust us with their most sensitive information. By keeping ads out of the equation, we help our customers create their wills and plan their funerals uninterruptedly.
Joe Karasin, Chief Marketing Officer, DigitalWill Company
Avoid Shortcuts and Clickbait
Keep in mind that the way you market your company reflects on the quality of your products and services. If you try to drive traffic to your site by using clickbait techniques or over-promising, I believe you risk losing your customers' trust and future business.
Be truthful about what you can provide and ensure that you at the very least meet customer expectations. This will build trust between you and your customers and lay the groundwork for a loyal customer base.
Jeff Romero, Founder, Octiv Digital
Respond Within One Business Day
Since implementing this strategy, we've seen a vast improvement in our customer relationships—they appreciate knowing that we quickly and professionally address their concerns.
It has also taken away a lot of the anxiety associated with making large investments, such as installing several solar panels, so they can trust that they are receiving value for their money. Responding to customer inquiries quickly allows us to build stronger relationships with those customers over time, creating another level of trust and security.
Johar Inam, Project Manager, Solar Panel Installation
Build a Strong Brand Identity and Reputation
Building a strong brand identity and reputation is one of the most effective ways for companies to gain and preserve customer trust. An established brand identity gives customers confidence in a new company. That involves establishing a brand identity that speaks to your target audience through a memorable slogan, logo, and other visuals.
That's possible if the firm puts money into branding, develops its own voice and tone, and interacts with its target audience on social media. I believe it's important to be forthright with customers across the entire customer experience, from advertising to sales to service and support. Startups can increase the likelihood that their consumers will stick with them by establishing their reliability and trustworthiness early on.
Gerrid Smith, CEO, Property Tax Loan Pros
Prioritize Customer Education
We believe that when customers understand how our product works and how it can benefit them; they are more likely to trust us and become loyal advocates for our brand.
To educate our customers, we provide a range of resources, including video tutorials, how-to guides, and interactive demos. We also offer live training sessions and personalized support to help customers get the most out of our product.
By providing these resources, we empower our customers to make informed decisions about our product and understand how it can help them achieve their goals. We also show our commitment to customer success and build a relationship of trust.
Besides these resources, we also actively seek customer feedback and use it to improve our product and better meet their needs. This feedback loop helps us build stronger relationships with our customers.
Nick Cotter, Founder, newfoundr
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