If you Google customer trust and customer loyalty, it’s quick to see the business case for investing time on these topics. According to research studies it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than it costs to retain an existing one and 83% customers will recommend the businesses that they have placed their trust in, to other people.

However, despite the compelling case for building trust, research from HubSpot suggests that it’s now harder to build high levels of trust, with 55% of consumers confirming that they trust companies less than they did previously.

So, how can a business escape the low trust trends in an increasingly sceptical marketplace?

Be human

A great place to start and a way to differentiate your business, is to share your company story. Who is behind the brand name, and what is your why?

Even the simple act of having a ‘meet the team’ page with some photos and biographies on your website can help to humanise your business. If your story connects with prospective customers on an emotional level, then they will be more likely to choose you over a brand whose story they don’t know.

Understand your customers

Customers are more likely to place their trust in a business that they feel understands them, and that has their best interests at heart. For example, we’ve all had those highly uncomfortable experiences with salespeople that we know only care about their commission; you can feel it immediately.

Exceed their expectations

Once you’ve painted a realistic picture of what the customer can expect, you need to put all of your efforts into keeping that promise. The best companies go the extra mile to also exceed these expectations and start building raving fans who are happy to recommend them.

Create a customer-centric culture

The most foolproof way to consistently exceed client expectations is to build a customer-centric company culture, meaning that you always think of the customer first. Customer-centricity doesn’t mean that you never think about profits; it’s a mindset that profits result from happy and loyal customers who trust you.

Encourage independent reviews

HubSpot’s research into trust found that 81% of people trust the advice of the people they know, more than they trust information from businesses. This statistic demonstrates the power of having a loyal customer base that is happy to recommend your company.

One of the ways to encourage recommendations is to ask satisfied customers to write a testimonial for your website or on an independent customer review website such as Trustpilot.

Add value

An excellent way to build trust and loyalty over time is to be helpful to potential and existing customers.

You could create free videos that help them to do something that they value concerning your products and services. For example, payments experts UTP Group have a blog that is filled with useful information to help their clients.

Reward loyalty

One of the most effective ways of building and preserving loyalty is to reward it. A customer who is receiving an excellent service and who feels valued is unlikely to look at your competitor.

Rewards can come in a variety of forms; the most important thing is that the customer believes their prize is valuable. For example, you may offer your best customers early access to new products and services, exclusive discounts, rewards based on their spending or reward points to spend as they choose.

Use a trustworthy payment solutions provider

One of the quickest ways to destroy trust with a customer is to give them a reason to fear that their sensitive data is not secure. Make it easy and safe for them to transact with them in the way they feel most comfortable doing this by offering a range of payment solutions. For example, a countertop card machine, a mobile card machine or an eCommerce Payment Gateway.

Make sure that you work with a payment solutions provider that partners with an established bank that has an excellent record on data protection and fraud prevention. For example, payments experts UTP Group partner with an established bank with a strong reputation. On top of the bank’s excellent fraud protection, UTP Group offer a unique level of additional daily fraud checks to protect you and your clients, as well as same day funding on all transactions.

Conclusion: make trust and loyalty your priority

Business owners should start by setting a customer-centric culture through their actions. Then hire people who have a passion for customer excellence, commit to excellent service, deliver more than you promise and reward customer loyalty. When you do this consistently, your existing customers will happily become one of your best customer acquisition channels.