Every time you keep a promise, as a business, you build trust. Trust is what makes repeat customers, recommendations and connections, flexibility when you need it, favours and allowances. Everything you do should be helping to build trust with your customers, clients, suppliers and every important person or organisation you have a relationship with.
Breaking a promise causes disappointment, and that can have consequences that range in severity from light to calamitous. If you don’t have a product in stock that a customer’s looking for their trust in you will take a minor hit. If that experience is repeated multiple times on subsequent visits, without the customers having a good experience with you, their trust in your brand to provide what they need will be thoroughly eroded and they won’t come back, or recommend you to their friends.
The same sequences holds true even if you’re not running a retail business: let down clients one too many times, and they simply won’t be able to trust you in future.
Keeping your promises, building that trust is vital, so let’s take a look at how to do it.
Learning Your Customers
To keep your promises to your customers you need to learn just what you’ve promised them, which is more than the explicit wording of adverts and product descriptions. The process of building a brand means making a lot of promises, some of them explicit (“our goods are cheap and last a lifetime”) others implicit, from the tone of ads, where they’re placed, even the font. Your brand is built up out of every way your customers experience your company, and it carries a promise of what their experience will be like when they use your business.
You need to know what customers are thinking about your brand, because if you’re sending a different message to the one you think you’re broadcasting, you’re going to have a lot of disappointed people on your hands.
A brand tracker from Attest, or similar market research companies can help you learn what customers are expecting from you so you can either tune your business to flatter those expectations or start the work of changing your brand to paint a more realistic picture.
Learning Your Business
You also need to put the time into learning your business. You can gather this data yourself, and it’s well worth doing. If you’re going to promise a delivery, a report, or a service for a client, you need to know you’ve actually got the capacity to make that happen.
Missing a deadline once erodes faith just a little. Pushing your employees to hit a deadline you’ve imposed on them erodes their faith in you. Giving a realistic deadline that your employees can hit without going into crunch is a better way to run a business, one that can last in the long term and scale to take over the world!