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BBB Business Tip: 7 Steps businesses take to build trust during COVID-19

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (BBB) -- If there’s one thing we’ve learned from COVID-19, it’s that communication is a must. Of the nearly 1,000 BBB Accredited Businesses recently surveyed, business owners shared that being transparent and communicating to customers led to a better in-person and online experience.

The truth of the matter is that having excellent communication with customers is often easier said than done. With increasing customer demand, unpredictability across the market, and intensified competition,  many businesses are scrambling to survive. In July’s BBB COVID-19 Business Impact Report,  71% of companies surveyed anticipated the pandemic would hurt their business.

While many firms cut costs and took advantage of financial assistance programs, business owners tell BBB that doing simple, customer-centric tasks can not only create loyalty but build trust. When asked what businesses are doing more or differently to build trust with customers, here’s what they said:

Communicating and Educating Customers

Business owners say they’ve had to ramp up their communication game big time over the past few months. From checking in on clients to offering free resources and tools for customers, successful businesses have made it a priority to strengthen relationships. Many companies have posted their COVID-19 policy on their website and published business updates on social media.

Be Transparent and Honest

In addition to communicating more with clients, businesses tell BBB they’ve made it a point to be open and honest about how the pandemic is impacting business and customer expectations. Some owners call customers personally to talk about specific measures the company is taking to prevent the spread of the virus and keep employees and customers safe.

Take Extra Safety Precautions

Beyond city and state health mandates, many businesses have gone a step further to ensure their business is operating safely. Some of the most common precautions include social distancing, wearing gloves and masks, extra cleaning and sanitizing service areas, and offering face masks and hand sanitizer to customers.

Offering Discounts and Reducing Prices

There’s no question that the financial impact of COVID-19 is hurting some consumers just as severely as businesses. By providing affordable paying options for customers and offering discounts on services, business owners can restore confidence with buyers. Some companies are offering relief programs to work with families in distress, such as allowing customers to defer payments on loans.

Adapting to Customer Needs

Taking a customer-first approach, business owners tell BBB they’ve provided special accommodations for clients. Some companies have offered full refunds on products or services. Aside from following proper safety guidelines, companies are being empathetic and following additional customer safety requests.

Embracing Technology

Many businesses have had to go entirely online, adopting digital applications to help with payments, customer inquiries, and consultations. Creating an online presence helps in communicating with customers and fulfilling orders.

Promoting BBB Accreditation

Customer trust is essential, and many BBB Accredited Businesses are making it a priority to act with integrity, honesty, and excellence. By promoting BBB Accreditation, companies are telling customers they’re an ethical and vetted business.

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