3 rock solid ways to build customer trust 

by Sarah Craig July 15, 2022

A global report done by Edelman found that 67% of consumers agree “a good reputation may get me to try a product, but unless I come to trust the company behind the product, I will soon stop buying it.” And while growing companies are often busy focusing on important initiatives like acquiring new customers and creating product features, building customer trust with existing customers needs to be a top priority. Because while it might not seem lucrative in the short term, it’s crucial to setting up a company for long-term growth. 

After all, launching new products and discovering sales opportunities are important to succeed, but if your customers leave due to a lack of trust, will those things matter? Here are three ways businesses can build consumer trust. 

Take a hard look at your customer service 

As a consumer, you’ve likely been on the bad end of a poor customer service experience. The feelings of frustration and exasperation might have led you to search for a competitor’s product or service. If this sounds familiar, you aren’t alone – 65% of customers said they have switched to a different brand because of a poor customer experience, according to a survey done by Khoros and Forrester Reporting. And with the cost to acquire new customers being 7 times the cost of selling to existing customers, this isn’t an area that companies can afford to ignore. 

While companies put a big focus on creating great products, they often put less gusto into creating a solid customer support function, which usually ends with a poor customer support experience. However, when a customer buys a product, they are buying more than the tangible good or service. They are buying the security that comes from knowing the product will be made well, based on brand reputation. They are also buying the reassurance that if something does go wrong, you’ll make it right. Providing customer support that goes above and beyond the traditional long wait times, and unhelpful answers could help companies stand out from their competitors. 

How does your company prioritize customer support? Most companies like to think they offer quality customer support, but how do you know you really are? And how could that support be better? When you look at your customer support function, where do you see areas of improvement? If you were a customer of your company, would you be pleased with the response time, and how quickly issues are resolved? A common practice for customer support teams is to send a survey after interacting with a user, which provides feedback and areas where the support could be better. Here are some tips on improving your customer support experience from the TaxJar team

Put a focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues

Since ESG issues have become top of mind for consumers and executive leaders, it makes sense that these factors have also become a crucial element of the buying decision. Research from PwC shows that 83% of consumers think companies should be doing more to shape ESG best practices. Even more, experts at Deloitte believe that companies that prioritize ESG initiatives have an opportunity to gain customer trust. Putting a focus on ESG issues gives companies the opportunity to show customers what they stand for, and the type of positive impact they want to make. 

What steps can companies make to improve their ESG practices? Thinking of ESG as three pillars – environmental, social, and governance – makes it seem more digestible to achieve best practices. For example, what does your company do currently that positively contributes to the wellbeing of the environment? Where can you improve? What type of diversity and inclusion policies do you have in place? At every stage of your supply chain, do you have the highest labor standards in place to support a safe working environment? 

The last piece of the ESG puzzle is governance, which isn’t as straightforward as the other pillars. Governance encompasses activities such as tax compliance, risk management, and protections against bribery and corruption within an organization. While it might seem daunting to take on these topics, there is an easy place to start: sales tax compliance. 

For companies looking to meet compliance requirements for the first time, having an automated sales tax solution like TaxJar is a great place to start. TaxJar’s sales tax experts can walk you through your options, and find a plan that makes sure you are always collecting and remitting sales tax from the correct customers, on the right products or services. See for yourself how simple it is to start a positive ESG practice with our 30-day free trial, or talk to our sales team to learn how to get started. 

Transparent pricing and company initiatives

Often, customers feel they can’t trust a company when they simply don’t have enough information. For companies focused on building trust, a website audit can help you discover where to be even more forthcoming with your users. For example, where is pricing located on your site? Is it buried somewhere that’s difficult to find? Is your pricing straightforward and easy to understand? For consumers to make the decision to purchase, they need to understand how much it will cost, and not feel frustrated by surprising fees that might pop up along the way. It may seem like a minor issue, but not having transparent pricing can lead to a poor first impression and result in significant revenue losses. 

Going further than pricing, where else on your website can you share more with users? Even in the B2B and SaaS industries, having information on leadership and company-wide initiatives easily accessible can help erase the information gap, and lead to a deeper trust from your customers. The bottom line is, people want to know who they are doing business with – no matter what they are buying from you. Consumers trust people, so show them who they’ll be working with. Carolyn Urban, TaxJar’s User Operations Lead, has this advice for companies that want to improve their relationships with customers: “Work on the fundamentals. Whatever the size of your business, getting the fundamentals right will help you. Make sure you’re setting expectations for customers up front. They should know how long your product will take to get to them, for instance. And tell the truth. When you screw up, be transparent and make a plan to make it right.”

Don’t be afraid to ask for customer feedback and implement those suggestions when possible. Users want to feel heard – and taking action is a great way to show they can trust you to listen to their suggestions. On getting feedback from customers, Urban shared this: “It’s always best when you’re hearing directly from customers, so you need a mechanism to get customer feedback. That could be a survey tool, reviews or online feedback — or better yet, a combination of several different ways for them to communicate to you. The customers have the answers. They know what they want. Find out what they’re saying.”

Being trustworthy is good for business 

The steps we’ve outlined will not only help you build customer trust, but they are good business practices that will bring even more benefits to your company. For example, being sales tax compliant isn’t just a solid ESG practice, but it’s also a good way to avoid paying back taxes, interests, and fees. Building trust strengthens the bottom line. 

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