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How Can Entrepreneurs Build a Trustworthy Relationship With Their Consumers Founders need to realize the power of the customer early on to build on the trust.

By Sanchita Dash

You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

As the world woke up to Facebook's biggest controversy till date over a massive data breach, there has been an uproar on other social media platforms with the common call for action being #deleteFacebook. The consequence of the same is yet to be determined, but one thing's for sure - Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg now faces massive trust issues from his users.

For any brand, ensuring the trust of their customers is an integral part of their success journey. More often than not, the customers script the growth story of the brand. Founders need to realise the power of the customer early on to build on the trust.

Entrepreneur India spoke to start-up founders on how to establish trust and also win it back in case of a fallout.

Be Transparent

The most important aspect of building trust is being transparent in your processes, not just in front of your employees but also your customers. Laxman Papineni, co-founder, AppVirality believes that a healthy relationship based on trust and mutual respect develops only when we embrace transparency and opt for a bare-all approach. "Don't get me wrong, we can't reveal every aspect of our business due to legalities, but when it comes to consumers and their needs, we have to show integrity and be real with them. Don't have what the user needs? Tell them upfront," he said.

Especially when your product requires the customer to share their personal information, you have to ensure its safety. Sunil Kakadia, co-founder, Sportobuddy, said that transparent handling of data is of extreme importance. "Share the measures you are taking to ensure the data is not leaked. You have to make sure that there are multiple levels of authentication for the data and there are different sets of people monitoring it," said Kakadia. He also suggested developing partnerships with renowned service platforms to store the data on the cloud.

Talking about safeguarding the data, Kakadia also said that entrepreneurs can hire ethical hackers who can point out the loopholes in the system and ensure the IT architecture is certified according to industry standards

Build a Community

When you have a B2C product, it's crucial that you first build a community for your business - a community that trusts you and backs you up. Muheet Mehraj, co-founder, Kashmir Box realised very early on with his start-up that people don't believe they can get authentic Kashmiri products easily. That's when he began working on solving that problem first by educating the audience. "You have to empower them with knowledge. We started sharing and talking about Kashmiri products and how you can differentiate between authentic and fake products. We pushed out a lot of content in the form of blogs and videos. That's how we built a community," he said.

Authenticate Your Brand

Consumers usually go for products or services that are authenticated or verified by a superior authority. Mehraj believes that when people see a backing to a product, they will buy it. "A seal of trust given by an authority builds the trust for your consumers too," he said. At Kashmir Box, they have tied up with the Government to authenticate their products.

If Wrong, Apologize

Most entrepreneurs believe that if you are found in the wrong side of things, it is best to own up to your mistakes in front of your customers. Papineni believes that entrepreneurs have to own up to their mistakes and assure their users that they are doing their best to rectify it. "False promises and blame-game will lead you nowhere.By being humble, accepting the responsibility and starting from scratch to rebuild the relationship. You can't charm your way out of it. Have a real conversation with the customers, show them your vulnerable side," he said.

Sanchita Dash

Entrepreneur Staff

Former Senior Correspondent, Entrepreneur India

In the business of news for 5 years now. Making my way across India thanks to my career. A media graduate from Symbiosis, Pune, I have earlier worked with Deccan Chronicle (South India's leading English daily), T-Hub (India's largest incubator) and Anthill Ventures (a speed-scaling platform). 

Stories, movies and PJs are my thing. 

If you hear 'The Office' opening score randomly, don't worry it's just my phone ringing. 


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