During a recent business trip with Carlos, one of my IAQ Training Reps, we talked about a subject that he is very interested and involved in, that being the board gaming industry. I know next to nothing about it, yet I was intrigued by its complexity and the number of games and gamers that are involved in this industry. I realized through our conversation that to develop a new game that will be popular with the gamers, that A LOT of time, money, and computer know-how is involved in creating and developing these games. Carlos said that a lot of companies use Kickstarter as a platform. The investment developing these games comes from the gamer investors, and their own money is at risk. The term used to say that a project has met its goal is “funded.” So, if the company raises enough money to meet its funding goal, it’s been funded. Sounds simple enough, yet there is risk involved in the board gaming world to get investment capital. The funding in these games is used to front the production costs of making the game. They use fancy marketing techniques and make all kinds of promises with hopes to deliver a high-quality product in the end. However, over the years, people (gamers in this case) have been burned with subpar production (graphic design, art, components, etc.), broken or unreadable rules, or not delivering a final product at all. This issue creates a little anxiety about backing a particular product so early in the life cycle of the product. To minimize their risk, investors look for companies that consistently deliver on their promises. They call this trust equity.
In the gaming investment industry, trust equity increases and comes into play (no pun intended) as the same companies consistently deliver on their promises. They no longer have that anxiety and will gladly back their next project. They’ve built enough trust equity where some game developing companies get instantly backed, while others struggle to get funded. Now, that equity can diminish if the next project doesn’t deliver.
How can you build this trust equity with your clients? You must consistently deliver on your promise of excellence with the service and products that you provide. This starts with the trust factor being built into your company culture. And it must be consistent throughout your company, from your service technicians in the field to your team members in your office.
Knowing how to build trust with customers is critical in today’s business climate. Going above and beyond for your customers is always the direct route to building consumer trust and a loyal customer base. Failing to do this and build it into your culture will limit your potential.
With social media and instant reviews online, today’s consumers are increasingly savvy, selective, and cynical about their purchasing decisions. Gone are the days of sales manipulation, persuasion, convincing, and winning where the customer is the one being manipulated, convinced, persuaded, and the loser. Our job is not to convince but inform.
Trust equity starts with building your positive reputation in the market. Warren Buffett once said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” So, once you build your reputation, you must be consistent with processes, positive attitudes, and always doing what’s in the best interest of your customers is critical.
As a company, we need to tell our story to the public to build a trusted brand. This story should go beyond our products and services and gets the customer to look at our history, passion for service, expertise, certifications, company culture, awards, etc. At the end of the day, YOU are the brand and not the product manufacturer you are aligned with. People need to identify with you and your values so that they are naturally drawn to the same likeness. We want to hang out with people we like and trust, and it’s the same in a business relationship.
Then we must live up to the brand and expectations that we are promoting. Be honest and straightforward with your customers about your products and services. No exaggerated claims that can appear to be pseudo-science or gimmicky. People can see right through the hype, and you will lose their trust. Be clear with your pricing and build value that goes beyond the customer’s investment with you. This is especially true for getting their repeat business and referrals.
Offer great customer service to build trust and loyalty. Hire dedicated team members and consistently train them to a high standard. Train them to have empathy and patience with angry customers and celebrate with excitement with the happy customers. Allow your team to treat customer issues on an individual case by case basis, rather than a canned “this is just how we do it” reply. The goal here is to provide an efficient, professional, and personable experience for your customers. If they feel like your team has gone above and beyond, then they’re far more likely to come back and then recommend you to their friends and family.
If you’re doing things right and building trust equity, then share your successes with reviews online. In today’s world, we are all in the habit of checking reviews before we go to a restaurant, on a vacation, or any other activity. Don’t think for a moment that it is any different in your industry when people are looking for your product or services. Word of mouth recommendations are important, and we trust third-party recommendations and the experience that others have had with a certain business. Reviews help customers make decisions on whether to consider your company to service their needs. Written reviews are great, and getting a few customer video testimonials are even better. So, leverage the power of recommendations by displaying unedited reviews prominently on your website, sharing positive feedback across your social media channels, and responding to reviews quickly and professionally to build trust equity.
Also, on your website, if you don’t have one already, create a “meet our team” page to put names with faces. Show them all the support that they will get, not only from the technician or salesperson that shows up on the call but from all your support staff.
Gaining trust with your customers and prospects should be part of the job description for everyone on your team. You already have products and services that consumers want and need, and hopefully the ability to show how you’re adding value, informing them on problems and solutions, and so forth. However, if you don’t earn the customer’s trust, they’ll probably buy from someone else whom they do trust.
Building trust equity will pay dividends!
Steve Mores is the Vice President of Training and Sales at Dynamic Air Quality Solutions
Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area!