“Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” –Shakespeare

When was the last time someone broke your trust? When was the last time you broke someone else’s trust? I’m willing to bet it was a pretty big deal. Maybe your relationship recovered. Maybe it didn’t. Maybe you’re on the fence about the person now, unsure whether or not you can trust him or her again.

It’s happened to everyone; relationships (whether romantic, friendly, or otherwise) aren’t always easy. But all great relationships have one thing in common: TRUST.

Same goes for any relationship between a consumer and a brand. Trust is a must! Brand loyalty is built on trust. When your customers trust your brand, they trust your business, your products and services, and your ability to meet their unique needs. Brand trust is what gives consumers the confidence they need to advocate for your brand.

What is your brand doing to cultivate trust among your potential and current customers? Are you guilty of any of these Brand Trust Fails? How can you regain that precious customer trust and brand confidence once it has faltered?

Brand Trust Fail # 1: Bad Customer Service

“Friendship—my definition—is built on two things. Respect and trust. Both elements have to be there. And it has to be mutual. You can have respect for someone, but if you don’t have trust, the friendship will crumble.” –Stieg Larsson

Just like You Are Your Brand, every person your customer touches, from your creative team members to your in-house employees is a brand representative and a brand advocate. If your team constantly fails to put on a smile and treat each customer with respect, they’re stifling your business and damaging your brand with each interaction.

Brand Trust Fail # 2: Over Promise, Under Deliver

“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.” –Nietzsche

When you make lofty promises about what you can do for your customers, then fail to meet and exceed their expectations, your customer might feel lied to. Your goal, with every customer interaction, should be just the opposite: so under promise, over deliver instead. When your customer is expecting a little something and they end up with a big treat, you better believe they’ll be coming back for more.

Brand Trust Fail # 3: Failure to Adapt

“Enjoying success requires the ability to adapt. Only by being open to change will you have a true opportunity to get the most from your talent.” –Nolan Ryan

If your brand fails to keep up with the times and adapt to the needs of your customer base over time, those who were formerly “your people” will find another brand to replace that void you used to fill. Your customers want to know that their needs are paramount and your brand totally “gets” what they want. On the flip side, changing too quickly can also scare off some of your long-term brand lovers. The trick is to adjust and adapt your brand over time to hit the right balance.

Regaining Customer Trust

“We are all mistaken sometimes; sometimes we do wrong things, things that have bad consequences. But it does not mean…that we cannot be trusted ever afterward.” –Alison Croggon

So you’ve made a mistake and you’re paying for it. You’ve broken your customer’s trust (or maybe you’ve broken the trust of many), and your brand is suffering. Sales are lower. Maybe you lost a major client. It’s bad. BUT, it’s not over.

The solution is a pro-active approach. Never hide and expect things to get better. Show up and make the first steps to resolution. Apologize. Offer an incentive to return to the fold, and be sure to stand behind your promises this time. You need to make your customer feel special.

Above all, be consistent in your promises and you will likely earn back that trust. Be patient, because it may take time. Remember: just because a customer doesn’t trust you again right off the bat, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re holding a grudge. It’s probably because you haven’t regained their attention or tried hard enough to earn back their trust, or it might be because they don’t feel you’ve changed. Create opportunities for engagement over time to show you really care and that you are worth trusting again.

Here’s the scoop: Love your customers and they’ll love you. Get them to trust, respect, and adore you and you’ll find they’re out hittin’ the streets in the name of your brand, spreading the word in person and on social media about how great you are. Now that’s publicity money simply cannot buy!