You hear it all the time: you have to earn your customers’ trust to be successful. Customers who trust you will come back to buy your fashions again. That is the route to brand loyalty and a major way to grow your fashion business.
Maybe you’re wondering how to grow your fashion business and also wondering if your business is trustworthy. These are good questions. It’s kind of like asking yourself if your hairstyle is fashionable. You need a mirror and a few outside opinions. Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you look into the trustworthiness of your fashion business.
1. Are You Honest?
This question is going to take some soul-searching. Look deep into the mirror at your business, and see if you can find any cracks in your honesty. To be trustworthy, a business needs to be completely honest. The images on your advertising need to be a truthful representation of what you sell.
Your prices should be straightforward. No hidden costs, no tricks up your sleeve to get the customer to pay more than expected. If you have employees, then you need to be honest with them about your product, so they can answer customer questions truthfully.
2. Do You Confess When You Mess Up?
We all make mistakes. Every single business owner in every single industry has made big mistakes and small mistakes. When you said an order would be in on Monday, and it doesn’t come in until Thursday, how did you handle that situation? Did you fast-talk your way out of the commitment? Did you hang up on the frustrated customer? Or did you apologize?
If you’re going to be trusted in the future, you have to eat humble pie when you make a mistake. This doesn’t mean groveling. It just means having the grace and humility to acknowledge when you mess up and then make it right.
3. Do You Keep Your Promises?
In one sense, every time you advertise your fashions, you’re making a promise to your customers. You’re promising them you have certain items available for sale, and they will solve certain problems in their lives, and they will cost a certain amount of money.
If you sell a coat, and you advertise it as being warm all winter long, and then the coat rips after a few wears, that’s a breach of your promise. The quality of your coat didn’t match your expectations or the expectations of your customer. Those kinds of broken promises will cost you trust.
In another sense, you can make promises to individual customers that you are building relationships with. Let’s say you get to know a regular customer, and she invites you to a networking event. You tell her that you’ll be there. But then, you don’t go. Breaking those types of relationship promises will also make you less trustworthy.
4. Are Your Customer Service Skills at a High Level?
It’s no secret that you can be an amazing clothing designer, and also be really bad at customer service. When you’re just getting your fashion business started, it’s hard to be everything to everyone. You most likely don’t have the funds to hire your own virtual assistant just yet, so you have to deal with the customer problems yourself.
Keep working at being sincere, kind, and gracious. If you get emails from customers, make sure you answer every single one. You need to build good relationships so you can build the type of trust that will grow your fashion business. You can also make “hiring an assistant” one of your long-term goals. In the meantime, make an attempt to be available for others.
5. Do You Have a Place for Customers to Post Reviews?
It’s tempting to ask a good friend to create glowing reviews to post on your website. Let’s think back to the first question. Would that be an honest business tactic? No, it would not. Instead, create a customer review form on your website, so your customers can leave honest, unbiased reviews of your fashions and your business. Yes, you could get negative reviews. Look at those negative reviews as a way to learn how to improve. How could you do things differently to please that particular customer?
Getting positive reviews is an amazing, confidence-building experience. Plus, posting all those reviews on your website and other places that you advertise helps you gain credibility and a good reputation.
6. Are You Human?
You know you are an actual human being, but do your customers know that? Do the other businesses you work with actually know you as a real person? There’s a term for the way you are when you show your face, talk to people about more than just the details of your products, and be transparent about your challenges. It’s called being personable. If you are an introvert, being personable may be a little more difficult. It’s worth working at. People trust people. They don’t trust unknowns.
7. Are the Companies That You Partner With Trustworthy?
No business operates completely on its own. We all depend on others to succeed. One sure-fire way to gain trust is to work with established companies that have already gained trust. By being associated with an honest, successful brand, you’ll gain credibility and customers. However, if you are dishonest with that company or treat their customers badly, you’ll lose a lot more than just trust. You’ll lose their business and their help.
8. Do You Listen to Understand?
Many people listen with the intent of replying. A wise business owner will listen to understand what the other person is saying. It’s about showing empathy and encouraging a closer relationship.
If your customer complains about a certain boot that you sold, then listen carefully to what she has to say. Don’t try to talk over her, and don’t try to brush away the problem as if it were a nuisance to you. Take time to understand what the problem really is. Maybe all that this customer needs is a different size boot. When you take time to understand your customers, you can often find working solutions that will satisfy the situation.
Always remember that it takes one careless comment or one broken promise to lose trust, but it takes a serious, concentrated effort to gain trust and grow your fashion business. When you look in the mirror at your fashion business, take time to be honest with yourself.
If you see problems, form a plan to fix them. If you see success and satisfied customers, then have confidence in yourself. You’re doing a great job.