How to Create Customer Trust


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CS is ALWAYSCustomer Experiences

It’s an old adage that I’ve mentioned before in my writings and video lessons: People, as in customers, like to do business with people they know like and trust. The knowing and liking is easy. Just creating a good image and having a good reputation makes it easy for customers to want to like you. Be nice and respectful and they start to feel like they are getting to know you. But, the trusting is more difficult. You have to earn your customers’ trust by following through and creating a predictable experience.

Creating trust is paramount to creating customer loyalty. And anytime you have an opportunity to prove yourself and establish a little more trust with the customer, take advantage of it.

So, how do you know when your customers trust you? Aside from repeat business, referrals and accolades, there is one word that you are looking for them to use as they describe you. That word is always.

They are always so nice. They always take care of me. I can always count on them. And, when there is a mistake or a problem, they always fix it.

So, how do you get to that level of trust? How do you get the word always to be part of your customers’ description of you?

  1. Be respectful. Customers want and deserve it. They actually expect it. Say please and thank you. Show up on time.
  1. Be predictable. Customers want an experience they can count on. They want to know that if you say the shipment will be there by Thursday, it will. They want to know that the service they get will always be what they expect. Being predictable is so much about the word always.
  1. Create consistency. Some would argue that this is the same as being predictable, but hear me out. I may deal with Bob on one day and Sally the next. I don’t expect these two people to be clones of one another. But, I do expect a consistency in their helpfulness and enthusiasm for taking care of me. This is more about the culture and personality of the organization than the actual experience. And, the personality is an important part of the experience.
  1. Eliminate friction. It could be slow moving line, a long hold time, complicated forms, having to repeat your account number to the customer service rep after you were asked to key it in on your phone pad. I could go on and on with the friction points that customers of many types of business deal with. Find out what your friction points are and do your best to eliminate them.
  1. Don’t fail. Okay, this is not reality. This is actually a goal. Nobody and no organization is perfect. But, trying to be is important. And, having the system to fix the problem properly is important.

Sure, there are more ideas, tips and tactics we can add to this list. (And, feel free to share them with us below.) So, to summarize, creating the always predictable customer experience falls into two areas; operations and culture. Is your system in place, and does it work?  Is your culture defined, and do your people walk the talk?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Shep Hyken
Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE is the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations. As a customer service speaker and expert, Shep works with companies who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. He is a hall of fame speaker (National Speakers Association) and a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author.


  1. Great points cited in the article, especially the last one which talks about attaining the state of perfection in customer experience. And unlike the earlier times, when delivering a perfect customer experience was impossible, today organizations are spoilt with tools like CRM that if used properly, can make the concept of ‘perfect customer experience’ a reality.

    It is just that commitment and effort is required from the organizations’ end to incorporate ‘customer-focused’ attitude in the culture and ‘CRM’ in the operations.

  2. I like the concept of perfect. It is really a goal, versus reality. There will be problems along the way. However, Vince Lombardi used to say something to the effect that along the way to perfection you can achieve excellence. Striving for excellence is reality.

  3. Hi Shep: this is a great list. Vendors should be clear that trust is something that customers grant. Many (too many) times I hear business developers say, “We want our salespeople to be trusted advisors to our clients.” Admirable, but the flaw in this objective is that companies frequently usurp the trust part – that is, THEY pronounce themselves ‘trusted advisors’ when they are satisfied that they have met sales or performance goals. It’s so easy to slap on a title, especially when it’s your own.

    I strongly believe that trust and intent are closely related, so whenever I hold discussions on this topic with clients, I always ask that they first look internally. They must consider what their intentions are when working with customers. There are many, but I often hear at the top of the list, “close the deal!” That’s a red flag, because I’ve seen it single-handedly defeat trust building.

    The key in examining intent is in recognizing that in B2B marketing, intent is one of the few variables that’s 100% in the vendor’s control. If vendors can’t get a handle on their intentions, and develop them in ways that are positive for customers, then trust building is hopeless.

  4. Hi Andrew – Great comment. The trust thing is huge. Abusing it loses confidence, and ultimately business. And, the “closing the deal” thing bothers me too. It’s really the beginning of a new phase of the relationship, where customers trusted you with their money, and you must prove to them they made the right decision.

  5. Hi Shep

    I think there is much more to ‘trust’ than you suggest in your post.

    Edelman’s annual Trust Barometer identifies five factors and sixteen attributes that contribute to trust. In its most recent, 2015, survey, it found that two factors ‘Engagement’ which it describes as listening to customers, treating employees well, placing customers ahead of profit, and communicating frequently and honestly, and ‘Integrity’, which it describes as having ethical practices, being responsible for its actions and having open business practices, were the most important in creating trust (and unfortunately, the least well developed).

    It is only when we start to understand all of the factors and attributes that influence trust that we can start to manage each of them for optimum business effect. That will inevitably involve difficult trade-offs between costs and benefits.

    Graham Hill

    Further Reading;

    Edelman, Trust Barometer 2015

  6. Hi Graham – You are correct. Trust doesn’t come easy. No doubt about that as your comment and the research you refer to indicate. Still a lot of trust comes from confidence. And confidence and trust leads to loyalty. Much appreciate you taking the time to share your comment!


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