Trust is like a piece of paper – once it’s crumpled it will never be perfect again.

A business partnership is no different than any other relationship in life. In order for it to be fruitful, it needs to be grounded in trust and loyalty.

There are many approaches, but when it comes down to the nuts and bolts of establishing and maintaining a solid customer-business relationship, three stand above the rest.

Be Genuine.

From a business perspective, being genuine can mean legitimacy and operating under the rules and regulations of the U.S. Small Business Administration. However, to a customer, you aren’t just selling a product or a service; you are selling an experience. Honest and sincere communication is the best way to create a lasting business relationship.

For most companies face-to-face interaction with each of your customers is a thing of the past so it’s important we don’t hide behind our computers and other technology. If your customer needs a human, make sure they can reach one, not just your automated switchboard operator.

Deliver Consistency.

One reason McDonald’s is the world’s largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants is because they have delivered consistency for 75 years. Customers know exactly what they are getting from the golden arches.

The difficulty lies in not only creating one positive experience, but with every transaction. Similar to an assembly line, creating a checklist and streamlining your procedures will help maintain quality and increase reliability.

Manage Expectations.

For most companies, this is the single most important piece to maintaining a healthy relationship with customers. Maximizing productivity by minimizing disappointment and setbacks promotes transparency from all parties involved. This also protects your reputation.

Most expectations aren’t met or exceeded because of a lack of communication, particularly at the onset of the project. With your customer, come to realistic promises, set prioritized needs and deliver on time. If timelines aren’t going to be met, get ahead of the issue and have a frank conversation with your customer. This ties into being genuine – reach out with purposeful, effective communication.

When employed, this trifecta will establish an environment that builds customers’ trust and gains their loyalty. Also know that in addition to repeat business, you will feel good about the intrinsic value you are adding to your products and services.