Show your customers that you care

This is a guest post from Drew McLellan, CEO and Top Dog at McLellan Marketing Group. See the original post this is adapted from and more like it on his blog.

In previous blog posts, I’ve explored the idea that a potential buyer has to know, like, and trust you before they’re going to buy anything from you. In this one, I want to dig into the trust part of the equation a little deeper and how important it is to show your customers that you care.

I think that the trust goes far beyond trusting your brand promise or trusting that your product will perform.

No doubt that’s part of the equation, but I think it’s more than that. The trust level they’re really looking for is the reassurance that they can trust you to take care of them if things go badly.

When you think about it: when we buy something and it all goes according to plan, there isn’t the need for all that much trust. It’s when there’s a problem that we suddenly feel vulnerable. Now we’re exposed — and need to count on the company. That’s the moment that you need to prove to your customers that you care.

There’s a quote flying around the Internet that says, “Yes, you can show me what you do, but first, show me that you care.” That sums up the essence of what a prospect really wants to know with confidence, before they buy.

Check out this great story about taking care of our customers:

How do you create that sense of confidence before they actually do business with you?

1. Put your guarantees and promises in writing

State your intentions and policies clearly and in a very visible place. Use common language (no legalese or weasel words) to explain how you handle problems and how you advocate for your customers. Then, take away any concerns by backing their purchase with a money back guarantee. The fewer restrictions or complications you have, the more believable and reassuring it will be.

2. Use testimonials to tout how you care

Use real examples, told from real customers’ points of view, to tell the story of how you handled problems. Prospects know that things sometimes go wrong. What they need to know is how you actually handle those situations. Let your happy customers tell them they have nothing to worry about.

3. Put your problems on stage

One of the benefits of social media is that customers use it to complain. Yes, I called it a benefit. There’s nothing more convincing than actually watching a problem being addressed. Encourage your customers to connect with you on social networks, and if one of them raises an issue — deal with it right there, out in public.

4. Train your people

It’s awesome that you, the business owner, have a spirit for customer care. But odds are, you aren’t the one who interacts with the customers most of the time. Your employees needs to understand your company’s policies and beliefs around how you handle customer problems, complaints etc. They also need to be given both the authority and the responsibility to deal with issues as they come up.

5. Celebrate your screw-ups

I know… we don’t want people to know we’ve made a mistake or had an issue with our products. But in today’s word of social sharing — believe me, they know. Both as a training aid and a testament to the fact that you actually walk your talk — hold up your mistakes proudly. Talk to your team about them and in particular — celebrate how an employee turned a bad situation around. Make how they handled the problem the star of the story.

If you’ve noticed, several of these suggestions will take place online.

The reason for that is simple. Today’s consumer (both BtoB and BtoC) is doing 60-70% of their shopping and or homework online before they ever contact the company.

So you want them to discover how trustworthy you are and how quickly you help a customer in distress long before they walk in your office, pick up their phone or shoot you an email.

This would be a great conversation for your next team meeting. Make a list of the ways that you show your customers that you care. If the list isn’t very impressive — you know what you should work on next.


About Drew McLellan

Wall Street Journal calls Drew McLellan’s blog,, "one of the ten blogs every entrepreneur should read." His passion is helping clients discover their story so they can create authentic love affairs with their customers. He's also an author, national speaker, and has owned his own marketing agency in the Midwest since 1995.

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