Trust. It’s a strong word that not only applies to the relationships you have with family and friends, but also the relationship your brand has with consumers. Building customer trust is one of the most important factors in any business’s success, allowing you to take your sales and retention rates higher while bolstering your public profile and reputation.
Whether it’s something that you’ve been working on with little success, or something you’ve never even considered, in this article, we’re going to talk about the best trust-building practices that you can implement into your marketing and business strategies.
Related: Reputation 101 (free eBook)
We don’t have to tell you that the online world of business is extremely competitive. With so many companies offering similar products or services, in this day and age, you need more than just a flashy marketing campaign to win over consumers. Stand back and ask yourself, how much do you trust the businesses you shop from personally?
If your answer was not very much, you’re not alone. A 2017 study found that only 33% of surveyed consumers trust the brands they shop from [Source: Digital Marketing Magazine]. Even more crucial, with the millennial generation and going forward, brand trust is becoming an increasingly important factor, second only to loyalty discounts in importance when deciding between companies to shop from [Source: The Economist].
When consumers trust your brand, they’re much more likely to become a paying customer, and best case scenario, a loyal customer that then spreads the word to their friends and family. Trust is the factor that helps leads become sales and customers become advocates.
Trust is the factor that helps leads become sales and customers become advocates.
When you begin focusing your efforts on building customer trust, the best place to start is the community in which you’re based. To accomplish this, make sure your brand tells a story that consumers can resonate with. Let people see behind the curtain and learn about why your company was founded by giving them a look through the founder’s eyes.
Coupling a strong brand story with an identifiable personality is a powerful way to tap into your audience’s emotions. Rather than come off as some large, faceless corporation that forgets about each customer as soon as they give you their credit card information, work on developing a unique brand style that consumers can create a connection with.
It’s also a good idea to join or sponsor community events that you’re passionate about. This is a great way to increase brand awareness and build common interests with your consumers, showing them that you care about more than just pushing your product on them.
First and foremost, speak to your customers like they’re human beings. You’ve no doubt heard this time and time again, but far too many companies get caught up trying to come off a certain way. Be authentic and develop a brand voice by thinking back to the roots of why you started the company and what it’s all about.
Another great way to instantly begin building trust with potential customers is by valuing their feedback even before they make a purchase. Show them you’re interested in learning about what they like and don’t like so you can better cater your products, services, and content to fit their needs.
On the other side of the coin, work on cultivating reviews from existing customers so potential buyers that are on the fence can learn about their experience. In fact, 82% of US adults read online reviews before making a purchase, and a shocking 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
As we just discussed, it’s extremely important to value the feedback of existing customers that have already made a purchase. This tells them that you haven’t forgotten and truly care about their opinion. Not only is this method great for building brand loyalty, but it also shows consumers your level of customer service.
Another way to build trust is by being fully transparent and avoiding promises that you can’t keep. When you’re able to deliver on everything you promise, it’s naturally going to build trust and loyalty, reducing the chances that customers will take their business elsewhere. This is the common pitfall many corporations fall into with marketing campaigns and one of the leading factors in the sharp brand trust decline.
When you’re able to deliver on everything you promise, it’s naturally going to build trust and loyalty
Lastly, never stop providing an abundance of value to your existing customer base. Whether this is through the form of special email newsletters, discount codes, or continuous updates to a service they’ve already purchased, boosting customer retention by as little as 5% can increase profits by as much as 25-95% [Source: HBR].
This is the part of the trust building strategy that brands overlook the most. Never forget the partners and vendors you work with. These valuable symbiotic relationships often have the power to open doors that would otherwise stay closed. Take time to foster each relationship, increasing the likelihood of referrals and positive brand mentions.
Because of the unique nature of vendor and partner relationships, different trust-building methods have to be used. The four basic principles for keeping these rewarding relationships strong are respect, mutual benefit, fairness, and honesty. Stick to these principles and you’ll quickly begin building long-lasting connections.
The four basic principles for keeping these rewarding relationships strong are respect, mutual benefit, fairness, and honesty
Going forward, customer trust is only going to continue growing in importance amongst the consumer population. In fact, of everything customers want from companies these days, honesty about the products and services a brand offers was the number one consumer demand [Source: Fast Company]. While it’s great to chase sales and drive numbers, doing so too aggressively often times forces brand authenticity to the wayside.
To stay ahead of the curve and beat the competition, review your current marketing and business strategies to work in the methods we’ve covered in this article. As you continue to make customer trust a focal point of your brand, it’s only going to further aid your growth and propel your business to new heights.