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Building Trust In Customer Relationships
By David Goldsmith   Printer Friendly Version

Build trust and you're on your way to building a long-lasting relationship with your customers. Trust is the basic framework for all customer/vendor relationships. Advertising and marketing efforts create interest and will initially pave the way, but results win customers' trust. Stage 1 is to entice by developing a perceived trust that products and services will be rendered as expected. Stage 2 is to turn the perception into a reality during your encounter with a customer.

Remember, customer service begins with first contact. This may happen with the customer service person at the front counter who remembers names and orders. It may occur with the call center individual who personalizes service by giving out their direct line and who is requested by clients. Perhaps it's the loading dock manager who makes sure that the carrier moved the merchandise on time for project completion and who has become, in essence, the epitome of the company to the customer.

In my travels to New York City and Javits Center events, I park at an outdoor parking lot located right off 42nd Street. I do so, because there is a parking attendant who, though my visits are infrequent, remembers my name…. Can you image that? He gets my car quickly and always asks how I have been. The amazing tidbit is that this may happen only once or twice a year. I'm disappointed if I miss his shift.

Not every person within a company has direct outside contact with consumers. The relationships may be more internal, such as the salesperson who develops a relationship with her accounting department. When traveling, accounting understands the trust issue and in turn makes sure that all her "problems" are taken care of promptly.

Relationships cannot be faked and be expected to last long. Look at your firm and note where and when relationships can be built in order to foster future business and retain current customers. If you find "All Stars" on your team, acknowledge them and share their secrets with others. You'll be on the right track to establishing trust and long term relationships with your customers and contacts.

David & Lorrie Goldsmith are founders of the Syracuse based MetaMatrix Consulting Group Inc. Their firm specializes in consulting and speaking services. They can be reached at 315-476-0510 888-777-8857 or emailed at dgoldsmith@davidgoldsmith.com

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