At BDC, we have the privilege of working with 49,000 business owners across Canada.
We are there for them every step of the way: when they start their business, when they hire their first employees, during periods of growth or difficulty, and also when the time comes to pass on the torch.
These are periods of great uncertainty, self-doubt, optimism, apprehension, disappointment and even profound joy. And we are there for them, where we should be, at the right moment, rain or shine.
Since we step in to help our clients at critical moments like these, we have come to realize that earning their trust is essential to our success as an organization. Entrepreneurs need to work with partners they can trust to help them achieve their business ambitions. And the level of trust they require increases when they turn to us for consulting or even to be a shareholder in their business.
1. Provide an unparalleled client experience
Every client interaction is a trust-building opportunity, which means that you must deliver a flawless experience at all times.
But some moments are more important than others. People will always remember how you made them feel at those times.
That is why we have invested a lot in the client experience; we know that it is essential to preserving our clients’ trust. The challenge is to maintain these high service standards for all clients, regardless of their location or the channels through which they interact with us.
In order to achieve this goal, we closely follow two indicators:
Satisfaction level with regard to the service received
We know that clients who say they are very satisfied with the services they received from us are 43% more likely to do business with BDC again than clients who are more neutral about it. Therefore, we make it a priority to improve client satisfaction and, as a matter of fact, it has increased steadily over the past five years.
The experience that we provide depends on our employees. Therefore, we must also maintain a relationship of trust and commitment with them. We are proud of their high level of engagement, reaching 90%, because loyal employees breed loyal clients.
2. Keep your commitments
Every business has a reason for being and a promise to keep to its clients. This promise is closely linked to the business’s brand image.
BDC’s reason for being, for example, is to support and promote entrepreneurship in Canada while also helping to entrepreneurs develop their skills. This is what motivates all of our actions.
When our clients go through difficult times, our main concern is to help them through the crisis, as opposed to packing our bags to minimize our losses. Our level of commitment is not affected by our objectives for profitability. In this regard, we have the advantage of having a shareholder who understands that Canada’s interests are better served if our SMEs succeed. Therefore, the interests of our shareholder are perfectly aligned with those of our clients.
When all is said and done, trust is gained when expectations are clear and commitments are met.
3. Evolve to remain relevant to your clients
Our clients’ challenges are constantly evolving. It is therefore essential to remain relevant and in sync with their changing reality. This is true for any business.
But what can you do to stay relevant to your customer base?
Here are a few suggestions:
- Keep abreast of the latest trends in your market so you can create products and services that meet your clients’ needs;
- Regularly assess the market by conducting surveys and research;
- Put tools, articles and other information online to help your clients overcome their challenges and to showcase your expertise.
4. Stay by their side through tough times
Trust is especially built when we exceed our clients’ expectations.
One of the most powerful examples for us was during the last financial crisis when BDC’s Business Restructuring Unit was created to help struggling businesses become profitable again. When one of our clients is having trouble, our team works with the entrepreneur to develop a financial recovery plan.
We are very proud that in more than 85% our interventions we were able to successfully put these struggling SMEs back on the path of growth. The fact we were by their side during a difficult situation is an excellent vote of confidence from them. This is how we build solid and long-lasting relationships with our clients.
5. Be aware of everything you do
Trust is built over time but can come crashing down at any moment. There is no secret formula, no magic recipe. For clients to trust us, we must constantly find little ways of showing them that our interests are aligned.
For example, we regularly review our loan application forms, our letters of intent and our processes to ensure that they best meet client needs and expectations.
We are convinced that the slightest detail can have an impact on the client experience, and it is in refining this experience that we can build a long-term relationship of trust.