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Marketing Insights

How To Foster Client and Customer Trust


Our latest RSM U Webinar with Marketing Manager Audrey Kominski was all about building trust and keeping it. Audrey shared some important information about consumers’ views of trust and ways you can improve relationships with your customers or clients. 

Why Does Trust Matter?

When it comes to the importance of trust, the numbers back it up. According to Salsify’s 2021 Consumer Research Study, 90 percent of those surveyed reported that they are more likely to purchase from a brand that they trust.

“Trust, not money, is the currency of business and life,”
-Vartika Manasvi, IMeYou

Zappos Built Trust From Within

Audrey shared a case study from Zappos, an online shoe retailer that built trust from within. 

Audrey shared that the online shoe retailer focused on cultivating a culture of trust through customer service efforts. What makes Zappos special? They didn’t spend their advertising budget on their marketing efforts. Instead, they reinvested in employees. Zappos actually offered $2000 to any employees who wanted to resign. What happened? They stayed. 

Zappos was able to focus on motivating their employees to offer exceptional customer service, and word-of-mouth marketing and referrals made up for their use of their advertising budget. Zappos reported 1 million dollars in sales in its first decade of operation. 

Dominos Had Their Customers’ Interest at Heart

After noticing complaints about pizzas looking unpresentable upon delivery, Dominos knew they had to make things right. Dominos partnered with 20 U.S. cities and made it a mission to repair potholes near their customer’s homes. This worked in two ways. 

Not only were they able to brand these filled-in potholes with the Dominos logo, but customers were able to benefit. Pizzas looked better upon delivery, and the campaign demonstrated important elements of the client relationship model.

What Does Trust Look Like? 

Audrey shared three key components to maintaining client relationships. The first aspect is active listening. Active listening centers around practicing empathy and showing that you care about your client’s and customer’s best interest. 

After demonstrating empathy and seeing a customer’s problem by hearing them, the next step to active listening involves interpreting. This might mean asking your customer base a specific question about their problem after this is the evaluation phase. 

During this phase, you might paraphrase or reflect on what they are telling you. Lastly is the response phase. During this phase, you will identify a course of action for your response.

Maybe this means adjusting a product or service for your clients’ needs. Or maybe, your recent campaign didn’t resonate with your customers and rubbed them the wrong way. The response phase looks different for every situation. 

How You Handle Data Matters

One trending discussion among online businesses and services is data protection. Many businesses have felt scrutiny after their customers have learned just what they were doing with their data. People care about and value privacy. Even if it doesn’t seem like sensitive data, it’s critical to establish trust with your customers by letting them know how you plan to protect their data.

Even though it’s an important piece of information for some businesses to operate with, Audrey shared that 54 percent of people reported they are highly likely to walk away from a business that requires them to provide their email or phone number. 

The lesson here is that even if it doesn’t seem important to your customer, it doesn’t mean it is unimportant. Show you trust and value them by consistently demonstrating transparency regarding their data.

Ethical Advertising & Why It Matters

This conversation about data opens up the idea of ethical advertising. Ethical advertising is a standard by which you and your marketing efforts are held to keep your customers’ best interests in mind. 

How Do You Play A Part In Ethical Advertising?

  1. Only track and store essential data about your customers
  2. Become certified. Here are some examples of ethical advertising certifications
    1. Institute for Advertising Ethics
    2. ICC Academy 
    3. Online University courses
  3. Be a part of ongoing conversations about advertising ethics

How To Focus On Internal Team Relationships

Trust starts from within. Focusing on internal relationships can help create and foster a community of trust among employees that extends to customers. Here’s how you can focus on strengthening these internal team relationships. 

Encourage organic relationship-building. Are your employees friends outside of their roles? That’s great! Having connections in the workplace helps create trust among one another and also motivates employees to put in effort for the team.

Another important way to focus on improving internal team relationships is by practicing follow-through and follow-up. When you tell your team you’re going to do something, you need to deliver. Communicating to your employees your commitment to following through demonstrates that they can trust what you say. 

Lastly, including team members in decision-making proves that you trust their knowledge and expertise. Often, it can be difficult to feel like relinquishing some control when making difficult decisions. However, inviting employees into the conversation can make them feel valued and trusted and provide ideas that can solve problems efficiently. 

I Want To Improve Our Trust—What Do I Do?

Audrey recommends a few steps to help improve trust with your clients and customers. One of the most important steps you can take is to understand your brand voice to communicate consistently. Audrey also recommends utilizing LinkedIn to its full extent. 

LinkedIn is a wonderful social platform that can help humanize your business. Demonstrating your brand and showcasing your values helps people understand why you’re the most logical choice and the best emotional choice. 

Final Takeaways

  • Trust is currency
  • Ensure your product/service is high quality and consistent
  • Listen to understand, not respond
  • Be mindful of privacy concerns 
  • Learn more and be open to change

Join Us For Future RSM University Webinars

The knowledge doesn’t stop here. RSM University provides access to free information and education that can add value to your business. To learn about future events and sign-up to attend, visit our registration page

Scott has a passion for growing companies using marketing and consulting with businesses to make their processes better. As a speaker and author, Scott loves to share knowledge and ideas. Scott is the President of RSM Marketing.

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