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Honesty is the best policy

For customers to continually invest in your brand, you have to earn their loyalty. Start by telling the truth.

Customer trust is all-powerful. When your customers trust you, they will continue to invest in your business. They might even forgive you for charging higher prices than your competitors, and allow you more flexibility in your offering.

Investing in tangibles such as product, speed and cost is all well and good, but no matter how many times you get these factors right, there’s probably another company doing the same thing. What will get you the sale over rival firms are the intangibles, with trust dominating the list.

Crucially, however, you will need to walk the talk.

Promote how trustworthy you are
If you have certificates or media coverage for being ethical, green, for high levels of customer service, for donating to charity – use them. Hang them on your walls, give copies to your sales reps, highlight them in the ‘about us’ section of your website. Also highlight customer testimonials in this way.

Keep your promises
Earning a customer’s trust starts with basics. Deliver – on time – exactly what you said you would at exactly the same price you advertised. If you fulfil or, even better, exceed their expectations, they will remember your company and tell their friends.

Measure your marketing
Don’t over sell what you’re offering and don’t be tempted to make claims you can’t back up. Attracting customers in this way might win you business in the short-term, but this is far from a sustainable approach.

Made a mistake?
Admit it and apologise, apologise, apologise. People don’t wake up angry, they have a bad experience and then react. You can take the heat out of most situations by being professional, helpful, communicating well, and quickly rectifying what has gone wrong.

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John Carroll - Helping businesses achieve International success. Head of Product Management & International Business, Santander UK

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