By John Turner, founder of SeedProd

A typical business focuses on driving sales by offering up a solid product/service, providing great customer service and attracting new customers with engaging marketing campaigns. But, there’s something missing. In order to generate more sales and build a large base of loyal customers, you need to improve your customer relationships. One of the best ways to improve customer relationships is with brand authenticity.

Brand authenticity is all about being open, honest and true with your customers. Without brand authenticity, consumers won’t be able to trust your business. And a lack of trust means consumers will be less likely to buy. Not convinced that brand authenticity is important to consumers? Check this out: According to the Consumer Content Report from Stackla, 86 percent of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support. So, without spilling your deepest, darkest secrets to your customers, how can you improve the trust they have in your company?

Here’s how to improve customer relationships with brand authenticity.

Get your customers involved.

A successful business is one that’s constantly trying to improve. After all, it’s important to keep your customers happy by always striving to provide the best for them. But many companies don’t get their customers involved in this process, which makes no sense because you’re making these changes for them. Instead, you need to get your customers involved.

Before you release a new product, update a feature or make any big change in your business, run it by your customers first. Collecting customer feedback on these big changes will make your customers feel more involved in your business and more valued as well. Don’t forget, though, that when you ask for your customers’ input, you need to listen to their thoughts and implement them. When your customers know that you’ll involve them in breaking company news and put their advice to use, brand authenticity will skyrocket.

Show, don’t tell.

Every company should have a set of values that they stand for. But it’s not enough to just tell consumers what you believe in; you have to show them. Any company can write on its “About Us” page that they believe in giving back to the community, for instance. But that doesn’t mean much if your customers and prospects can’t see it in action. If you put a strong emphasis on giving back to the community, you had better show your customers you mean it by giving back to local charities with donations or offering your time and knowledge to empower others.

Whatever you say to your customers and want them to think about your business, you should be keeping it consistent everywhere, even with simple communications on social media. It’s not what you say that matters, it’s what you do. So, make sure everything your company does is in line with your brand values and mission.

Take accountability.

If you want to improve customer relationships with brand authenticity, it’s imperative that you take accountability. Now, taking accountability doesn’t only mean that your customer support team has to apologize to frustrated customers when resolving their issues -- although that’s important, too. Taking accountability means you have to admit to your customers that your company is human, you’re not always perfect and you make mistakes. Admitting your faults makes your business more relatable to your customers, which helps you build meaningful relationships with them.

So, hold yourself accountable for the mistakes you made or weak spots in your company. For instance, if you’re getting a lot of bad reviews, instead of trying to deal with it privately between those people, let everyone know what’s going on. When you can admit there’s an issue and take accountability for it, the trust your customers have in you will only grow.

These steps to improving customer relationships with brand authenticity are only the tip of the iceberg. Going forward, your company should continuously work on being more authentic by being genuine and honest, engaging with your customers and being consistent in and out of the workplace. Brand authenticity will not only make your current customers happier but will also help you attract new customers by making your company stand out from the rest.

John Turner is the founder of SeedProd, the most popular coming-soon page solution for WordPress used by over 800,000 websites.

Published on: Jun 14, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.