The one necessary thing for customer satisfaction and loyalty


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“It’s a matter of trust,
It’s always been a matter of trust” – Billy Joel

When it comes right down to it, trust is the one thing that builds customer satisfaction and loyalty. If your customers don’t trust you, they will never be satisfied, and they may even go so far as to tell others that you are not trustworthy.

While there are many different social cues and triggers that we as individual human beings use when gauging another’s trustworthiness, there are some fundamentals that, if applied sincerely and liberally, can help to build a strong foundation for long-term positive customer relationships.

Always do the right thing.
Being ethical in your business dealings means, essentially, to do the right thing at every chance where you have the opportunity to do the wrong thing or cut corners. You don’t take advantage, but you give advantage. That is a powerful, and much under-used business tool.

Michelle Nichols, a sales speaker, trainer, and consultant ( relates this personal story on doing the right thing:

“I hope I don’t have to say it, but be über-ethical in all your business dealings. Many years ago, I owned a company that sold safety products. One of my customers ordered and paid for a product, but when I delivered it a week later, it had gone on sale and I didn’t refund the difference. Several years later, a friend of hers told me about my lapse in judgment. I bet in that intervening time my customer told more of her friends about what I did and, as a result, they all had less trust in me. Ouch.”

Communicate best by listening first.
We all have agendas when it comes to dealing with others, whether that is customers or friends and family members. But if you are attempting to build trust with anyone, you need to have the ability and focus to seriously listen first. Only then can you respond in a way that will be appropriate to continuing an ongoing relationship.

Tom Young, MBA, is a sales trainer and marketing consultant ( who knows a thing or two about online communication in his work with websites. He says, “Communication is about trust, not technique. When trust is high, it is effortless; when low, it is a huge burden. Listening builds trust because it shows how much you value the customer. It meets a deep psychological need to be respected as a person. Listening is the single most important thing you can do to build trust.”

Build on your successes.
There is an old proverb that says, “Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.” Customer testimonials, and by that I mean sincere customer testimonials, can help build trust and confidence almost immediately. When a customer or potential customer can see that others who have sat in their same seat (as a prospect) have had successful, documented interactions with your company, they are instantly put at ease and bolstered in their confidence. We must always remember that customers are typically dealing with our companies as unknown entities, and they need to see some sort of track record to begin the trust process.

Many companies choose to put customer testimonials in a binder so that prospective purchasers can browse through that information while looking at sales and promotional materials. I’ve heard of a car detailing company that takes a picture of each completed vehicle, and then emails them to the clients as a reminder to how well the job was done. These emails almost always gain a positive testimonial that can then be added to their arsenal of feedback. Think creatively like this as to what would be appropriate for your niche products and services.

Trust is built on sincerity, honesty, and a feeling of goodwill. Since every business is in the people business, how you deliver those real commodities will determine your ongoing success.

“My parents only had one argument in forty-five years. However, it lasted forty-three years.” – Cathy Ladman

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steve Martorano
Steve has been on the front lines with customers for over 25 years. He is currently Director of Customer Services for Polygon Northwest, a real estate developer in both the Seattle and Portland markets. Steve is also the creator of, an online resource designed to provide insights and training to customer professionals across many industries.


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