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Customer Trust Is Not An Option - It's A Matter Of Survival
By Don L. Price   Printer Friendly Version

Creating a strategy that develops customer trust is the most emotionally and intellectually challenging thing a company deals with in today's competitive global environment. Devising and executing customer trust is destined to be a time - and labor-intensive experience.

Only in a relationship of trust will customer freely pass back and forth information. Trust is the true differentiating feature for any company in a world of increasingly commodity-like products and services. A relationship, founded on trust, is the only genuinely sustainable competitive advantage a company has. Without trust, you're back to square one - where all other marketing variables, such as competing on price, design, benefits and most technology can be copied, duplicated, or overcome by competitors.

Creating a trust relationship requires, a creative process and a well thought out integrated marketing program that depends on three distinct factors. The first factor is determining what the customer wants to hear. The second factor is how the customer what to hear it (their preferred channel of communications). The third factor of any marketing strategy in the creative process is how we are going to say it, so that it doesn't land upon deaf ears and blind eyes.

Paramount, in the courtship of a customer, is building a trust relationship prior to the purchase. Many companies try to base their entry into the customers mind with a transaction-based product-centric sales and marketing approach, setting up an adversary relationship opposed to an advocate relationship of trust. The customer is left with - can I trust the product or service being sold. A trust relationship comes about through collaborating prior to the purchase, during the purchase and throughout the lifetime of the customer - establishing trust far beyond the general reputation of the brand.

Failing to establish trust relationships could prove to be fatal. Integrating and threading the customer throughout your company requires that you coordinate your activities and marketing message with respect to your customer. Integration, amounts to, as a concept, is to behave toward the customer's rational, base on what the customer tells you about their needs. That requires empathy and ego-drive - Empathy is the ability to understand how people feel, ascertain their needs and present your product or service benefits from their frame of reference - Ego-drive is the ability to commit completely to a particular goal. Five steps to assist you in developing a relationship of trust with your customer.

1. Develop a customer centric focused marketing program, based on your customer's perception of needs.

2. Identify what features and benefits your customer perceive most valuable.

3. Identify your customer favorite channels of communications and create your strategy around those channels.

4. Generate an involvement with each customer that would make it difficult to defect and advantage your competitor.

5. Let your customer base drive your marketing decisions.

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