How to increase trust from your customers
The primetime TV schedules are filled with programmes about dodgy tradesmen. The Great British public likes nothing more than getting worked up about cowboy builders. And lets face it, there are plenty of them out there. But one consequence of this low cost, high ratings filler programming is that trust in tradespeople is at an all time low.
Everybody seems to be convinced that builders, plumbers and sparkies are all charlatans out to rip them off. That’s why establishing trust with clients is so important.
Establish a good relationship based on trust and it could win you a lifetime’s worth of work from the client. Plus, people who trust their builders are much more likely to recommend you to friends and family. Word of mouth advertising is by far the most effective and cost efficient (you can’t beat free).
So how do you go about building trust from naturally suspicious clients?
The government’s TrustMark scheme is a helpful starting point for clients looking for reliable tradespeople. All you have to do is sign up to a code of conduct and you will be allowed to use the TrustMark logo. This will demonstrate to clients that you are serious about what you do and willing to publicly commit to it.
Another scheme is Trusted Traders, run by Which? It’s a database of rated tradespeople and a non commercial enterprise.
There are also commercial options, such as Checkatrade, Trustatrader and Ratepeople, which are based on users experience, although you do need to be a bit careful with these, as they can be open to abuse.
If you find yourself on the receiving end of bad reviews it’s crucial that you tackle them publicly. Respond online where it is visible and ask the client to be more specific, then offer to rectify any problems and stress that you always guarantee your work. This kind of ‘responsibility taking’ can work in your favour and turn a negative review into a positive situation.
It’s in the details
Make sure that your quotes are accurate, detailed and well presented. This will instil more trust in the client than scribbled bits of paper, even if the numbers are lower. Make sure all costs, materials, labour and taxes are laid out clearly and offer to explain anything the customer does not understand.
It’s also vital to prove that you are covered by the relevant insurances, which should put their minds at ease. Also, offer to give references from previous clients once you have checked they will be happy to act as referees.
Respect the homeowner’s property at all times and behave as you would want someone in your house to behave. Always comply with all laws and regulations. Do things by the book and there is no room for misunderstanding.
Remember that trust is an on-going process. It doesn’t stop with your current client. Make sure they are happy with the job you’ve done and get feedback. If there are any issues, iron them out then and there. Remember that if they trust you, they’ll be your clients for life, as will their friends and family. If the trust stops once you’ve been paid, it’s really not that much use. Always carry it forward.
Do all of the above and you can be sure you won’t turn up on a programme about cowboy builders while you’re eating your tea.