Many small businesses are on a tight marketing budget. Luckily, there are still lots of ways you can build brand awareness – and many of them are inexpensive or free. After all, good word of mouth is priceless. But it’s not going to happen unless your customers truly believe in your product and in what you’re selling.

Your biggest fans are your brand ambassadors. When they’re smitten with your product or service, they rave about it to their friends, family, and even people they hardly know. To get the “buzz” on the street and all the positive word of mouth flowing, you need to build relationships with your customers, and what will follow is trust.

You may not have time to create personal interactions with every customer, but there are a lot of generalized things you can do to encourage positive customer experiences across the board. By developing consistent strategies, you’ll leverage your resources while putting customers first. Here are five secrets to building your customers’ trust.

1. Add a personal touch.

Encourage regular communication with your customers (and not just via email). Don’t forget about them, and don’t let them feel forgotten. Stay active on social media. Blog regularly and keep your customers updated on what your business is doing. Remember the old saying, “Out of sight, out of mind.” If your company fails to stay in touch with customers or stay active on social media, your customers can forget about you.

When you do interact with your customers, ask them how they’re doing. Ask them about their kids or pets. Learn their names and have a real conversation – show them that “personal touch” and teach your employees to do the same. Our advice is to train your employees to get to know your customers and build relationships.

2. Be quick to respond.

When your customers contact you, whether it’s via a phone call, an email, a comment or direct message on social media, respond quickly. Show your customers that you’re listening and that you do care. “But what if I don’t have an answer yet?” That’s okay. Say something to the effect of, “I don’t have the answer, but I can find out. Can I get back to you?” Make sure you follow through and get back to them in a reasonable timeframe.

3. Give more than is expected.

You and your employees should always look for opportunities to go the extra mile for your customers. It doesn’t need to be expensive – it can be as simple as a follow-up call, a handwritten note, a small thank you gift, or a personal gesture that requires a little extra effort on your part.

Away from work, we’re all customers at some point. Surely, you prefer to give your business to: people you like, businesses that will go the extra mile for you, and businesses that show you they care. When your business creates positive experiences for customers, they’re going to say good things about you, which in turn, will lead to referrals.

4. Build a likable brand.

Create a likable brand, not just because it’s good for business, but because it’s the right thing to do. As you build a brand that people like and trust, you’ll be on track for building solid customer relationships. Your team can volunteer in the community. Your business can donate to charities and participate in community events – be creative!

As you help worthy causes, don’t forget to utilize these as marketing opportunities. You can share what you’re doing on your blog and social media accounts, and issue a press release. The exposure is not only good for your business, it helps create awareness about the cause you’re supporting. Everybody wins.

5. Deliver equal, superior customer service.

Always deliver superior customer service. Even if you have “favorite” customers, you should treat them all well. Don’t give one customer superior service and ignore another customer. Provide excellent customer service to all of your customers. You don’t want to pre-judge; you never know who will become your greatest referral source.

Interested in learning more effective techniques for building trust and creating customers who are brand ambassadors? Reach out to AdviCoach to connect with an experienced business coach! Your success is our business.