Customer confidence is the cornerstone of every good business. Without it, you won’t convince customers to use your services and you won’t get them returning, so it pays to do everything you can to cultivate it. 

Choosing the right trader to do a job can be a big concern for customers, especially if they’re spending a lot of money, so it’s essential that they have confidence in what you have to offer. Follow our tips to make sure customers won’t want to use anyone else.

Provide a brilliant service

It might seem obvious, but unless you provide great customer service from the start and do the work to the highest standard when a customer decides to take you on, you won’t instil confidence. This also makes it more likely that they will recommend you to others.

From the moment a potential customer first contacts you, the quality of your customer service will have an impact on whether they decide to use you or another business for the work they need doing and how they end up feeling about the experience as a whole if they do. 

Building rapport is an important part of this. Show interest by asking questions, commenting positively on their ideas or choices and finding common ground. The way you communicate will be a major factor in how potential customers view you and whether they feel happy to use your services. 

Make customers feel valued by responding quickly to messages, getting back to them with quotes or answers to queries quickly and being accommodating when arranging dates and times. Be punctual and if you’re going to be late let them know. Show them you care by offering advice when it’s needed.

When you’re doing the job, listen to what they want and any concerns they have throughout and make sure they’re 100% happy before you consider it done.

Be transparent

It’s important to be clear about what’s happening at all stages of the customer journey, what’s going to happen going forward and how long the work will take. 

If you’re quoting for a job, be open about how you’ve come up with that figure by itemising the quote if possible – it’s difficult to have confidence that a price is fair if it appears to have been plucked from the air. 

You may not be able to start the job for a while due to other commitments, so be upfront about this and give as accurate a timeframe as possible for when you’ll be able to start. Don’t over promise as you’ll be sure to disappoint. 

It’s inevitable that things won’t go to plan from time to time, so if something goes wrong with a job, be honest about this and do everything you can to put it right. If you stay silent about it and hope the customer won’t notice, you run the risk of destroying the trust you’ve earned if they discover the problem later.

Ask for reviews

No matter how good your sales pitch or credentials, many people will rely on reviews online to help them decide whether to use you or not, so aim to build up a good number of positive reviews from previous customers spanning a reasonable period of time.

Ask customers to leave you a review on your chosen platform when you’ve completed a job and respond to the review when it’s been posted if that’s an option – whether it’s good or bad.

How you respond to negative feedback is crucial. Ideally, you’ll have left the customer completely happy and dealt with any issues before they post a review but, if they do end up being critical online, make sure you respond with an apology and an explanation as well as saying how you intend to put things right. 

While the internet now makes it easier than ever for people to research traders, it also means they’re more likely to come across comments from less happy customers.

Feedback provides a great opportunity for you to develop and improve your business – it helps you find out what you’re doing right and what you could do better – so it’s important to act on any criticism, especially if more than one customer has mentioned the same thing.

Work on your shop window

Having a clear website for your business that explains what you do, provides details of your experience and qualifications, showcases your work with photos and provides contact details is another way to give customers confidence as it shows you have a track record and are comfortable with being visible to the world. 

It will also reassure customers if you provide a physical address as well as a phone number and email address you can be contacted on.

List any trade bodies you are a member of, as this shows you are serious about working to high standards. It’s worth joining any you can to add to your credentials, such as the NICEIC (National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting) if you’re an electrician as this demonstrates your competence. 

If you’re a heating engineer, link to the Gas Safe Register so potential customers can check you’re on it. 

You can use testimonials on your website but this is no substitute for actual reviews as people can be more confident that they’re genuine, so link to wherever they appear too, and always be honest in your marketing.

Become a Which? Trusted Trader

Traders have to pass a rigorous assessment, including of the financial health and trading history of their business, to become a Which? Trusted Trader so this boosts your credibility and helps you stand out from the crowd.

You’ll be able to use the Which? Trusted Traders logo on your website, marketing materials, vehicles and workwear and have a profile on the Which? Trusted Traders website where customers can leave reviews. This all adds to consumer confidence in your skills and working practices. 

Find out more about how becoming a Which? Trusted Trader could help your business and request a callback with one of our team.