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4 Ways to Build a Trustworthy Business

Trust lies at the core of every relationship of value. That’s true whether the bond is personal, professional, or transactional. Regardless of the type of currency exchanged, both parties want to believe that the other is honest and reliable.

In business, customers need to know that a company knows what it’s doing and does it well. No matter what target audience you serve, today’s marketplace is overflowing with competitors vying for the same pool of customers. Some customers may be attracted to the shiniest and loudest objects at first. But it’s who earns their trust that will determine who they will continue doing business with for the long term.

You know that retaining loyal customers costs much less than constantly attracting new ones. The foundation for these durable relationships is trust. Here are four ways you can build a business that earns it.

1. Build Authority

Becoming recognized as an authority in whatever industry or niche you’re in is a great way to build trust. Current customers and clients as well as prospective ones prefer to buy from and work with companies that they have confidence in. Industry authority is one of the reasons why, for example, a lot more people buy iPhones than Sharp smartphones.

Advertising won’t build this reputation for your brand. The best way to become a thought leader in your niche is through public relations. If you’re thinking about press releases and cold calls to media outlets, think again. In the 21st century, you need to take a digital approach because that’s where people are getting their information.

Your digital PR agency still needs to have those all-important relationships with relevant publications and media outlets. Just as important, your agency needs to know their audiences and how to speak to them. What you release, where, and to whom are all parts of your authority-building digital PR strategy.

Just remember that unlike ad campaigns and special offers, PR is a long game. Industry authority and the trust that comes with it isn’t earned in a day. But with the right agency partner and patience, you will see your authority grow.

2. Prioritize Transparency

It’s tough to really trust anything when you aren’t completely sure what’s going on. The Dalai Lama said: “A lack of transparency results in distrust and a deep sense of insecurity.” It holds true for personal relationships, government, religion, and, of course, business.

Transparency is demanded by everyone your brand interacts with, from shareholders and employees to customers and vendors. Communicating openly and honestly, shining light on how your company operates, and creating stakeholder value are hallmarks of transparency.

Adopting a culture of transparency doesn’t mean you have to open the vault of proprietary information. However, it does mean you should be clear about your company’s goals and values. And when things go wrong, be accountable. Admit faults and openly seek solutions.

Don’t tell stakeholders you’re making a commitment to transparency if it’s all talk and no action. Being revealed as a brand that claimed to be transparent when it wasn’t is the best way to lose trust forever. Always do as you say if you want to be trusted.

3. Hire the Right People

If you want to create a company centered around trust, you have to hire people who fit with that culture. First, those are the people your customers will see and interact with. Second, employees will not stay around long if they aren’t comfortable with your culture.

Trust makes employees feel safe to speak honestly, push the envelope, and take risks. Trust is also a key element of team building. Your teams need to believe in the goals of your company and fully understand their role in achieving them.

Don’t make a liar out of the people who work for you. If you claim to be a trustworthy business, that’s the line your talent will communicate to customers. Make sure your company has the substance to hold up under scrutiny.

Instill confidence in your teams, and they will pass along that confidence in you to your customers. That begins with hiring employees who fit with your culture. It ends with the culture truly being all it’s cracked up to be.

4. Deliver What You Promise

There is no way you can be a trustworthy business unless you deliver what you promise. Just remember that keeping the promises you make is only one part of building trust. Just as important is not promising anything that you can’t or won’t deliver.

If you offer products and services with “satisfaction guaranteed,” stand behind that pledge. What comprises satisfaction to customers isn’t necessarily just delivering a product that works like it’s supposed to. The product’s color, ease of use, or even the noise it makes might not be satisfactory to an individual. Be willing to make good on your guarantee regardless of the reasons for the customer’s discontent.

You also need to deliver on what you promise to your employees, vendors, and other stakeholders. Customers aren’t the only people who are buying what you’re selling. Everyone who touches your brand will lift it up unless you let them down.

Standing behind your promises is one of the best ways you can take care of your stakeholders. If you do, even if they aren’t happy with something along the way, they’ll be willing to stay with a brand they trust.

One Brick at a Time

Commit to building a digital PR strategy, being transparent, hiring the right people, and delivering what you promise. If you do, you will be building a brand people trust and cultivating a lasting connection with your audience. A relationship built on authenticity and reliability is the kind of relationship everyone wants to be in, so it’s worth the extra effort.

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