If your customers don’t trust you, they won’t buy your products and services. Trust is a top consideration for consumers when making a purchase. According to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report, 81% of people state that they “must be able to trust the brand to do what is right.”
But in today’s competitive marketplace, shoppers are increasingly less likely to trust companies and show any brand loyalty - 46% of consumers are more likely to switch brands than they were five years ago.
So how can you develop customer trust in 2020?
You can't rely solely on the quality of your products to build trust in today’s era of marketplace disruption.
You need to build a consistent brand image, get a detailed understanding of your customers, and deliver consistent value through all aspects of your business.
1. Be Available To Your Customers
You must be available to your customers when they need you. People are more comfortable and trusting when they know that they can talk to someone at your company at any time they choose. Studies show that 64% of internet users want to see a company’s contact information on their homepage, and 44% will leave if they can’t find it.
Drift surveyed 433 sales teams to see how response times impacted lead generation. The results showed that sales teams are 10x less likely to make contact with a lead if they take longer than five minutes to respond.
People are less patient in today’s connected world. There are plenty of companies out there providing similar products and services to your business, so why should people wait to hear back from you?
They won’t wait - they'll go back to Google and find another company.
Make sure that your customers have several options to contact you, and if you have a dedicated account manager, provide that person's phone number for a direct line of communication.
Being available is essentially about valuing other people’s time:
- Return phone calls promptly.
- Respond to emails in a timely fashion.
- Be on time for meetings, scheduled calls, etc.
Research from Forrester revealed that 66% of people believe that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide an excellent customer experience.
2. Adopt A Customer-Centric Approach
Customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than those that don’t adopt a customer-centric approach.
The key to earning the trust of your customers is to consistently deliver what they come to expect from you. Adopting a customer-centric company culture is the best way to consistently provide value to your consumers.
You need to go beyond the traditional customer-facing departments, encouraging a customer-centric approach throughout your company. How can each employee use their role to make a positive impact on the experience of your customers?
When every interaction with your company reflects the needs of the customer, it’s much easier to build trust and convince your audience that you care.
3. Consistent Branding and Messaging
Authenticity is a key element of establishing trust - 90% of millennial shoppers take brand authenticity into consideration when selecting a company.
How can your company be more authentic?
By delivering a consistent message and customer experience, so consumers know what to expect when they interact with your company.
A consistent brand image can reinforce your position in the market, increase customer retention, and raise the level of trust that consumers place in your products and services. For companies that have issues with consistency, taking steps to improve brand consistency can increase revenue by 23%.
The foundations of brand consistency include:
Consistent logo, packaging, and digital branding are an easy way to increase the consistency of your brand and build trust.
The message of your brand should be an extension of your company’s values. If your messaging doesn’t align with who you are, or you can’t deliver on expectations, your brand message is inconsistent. How do you position your company in the marketplace?
Are you energetic and youthful or established and luxurious?
Whichever image you choose to promote, make sure that you maintain consistency throughout all of your brand messaging.
How do you communicate with your customers and prospects? Which channels do you prioritize, and what does your target audience expect from you?
Consistently meeting the communication expectations of your customers is crucial to building trust.
4. Customer Reviews and Testimonials
Regardless of how trustworthy consumers perceive your brand, they will always place more trust in the opinions of other consumers.
A Trinity Mirror and Ipsos survey revealed that 42% of people distrust brands, and 69% of people distrust advertising. This is in stark contrast to the 83% of consumers that trust recommendations from their peers.
You can harness the trust-building opinions of your existing customers by publishing reviews and testimonials on your website.
For example, if you sell products directly from your website, encourage customers to leave reviews and place them on your product pages.
If you provide service-based offerings, incentivise existing customers to share their experiences of working with your company and publish testimonials on your service pages.
5. Content Marketing
If the majority of your customer's first interaction with your company is through your website, it’s vital to utilize that space to show why you are trustworthy. It’s essential to show prospects why they can trust you, not just tell them why.
Content marketing is how you show your audience why they should trust you. According to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2018 study, 96% of successful B2B marketers claim that their audience views them as a trusted resource.
Content marketing is so effective because it is a customer-centric form of marketing. If the only messaging that your audience experiences from your company are a push for a hard sell, you don’t offer any reason for people to trust you.
When you commit your time to produce content that helps people understand their problems and achieve their goals, you show that you care about your customers and that you are actively trying to help them.
This is essential for service-based companies. You can use your blog posts and social media content to showcase your experience and expertise in your industry. By displaying your knowledge, you encourage people to trust your company to do a great job.
Research shows that 61% of people are more likely to do business with a company that publishes unique content.
We live in an age where competition is at an all-time high. Consumers have more access to information and more choices than ever before. In today’s marketplace, building trust is vital to attract new customers and retain existing ones. Customer trust is built on these factors:
- Be available to your customers.
- Adopt a customer-centric approach.
- Be consistent with your branding and messaging.
- Share the opinions of your existing customers.
- Highlight your expertise and experience with content marketing.
Put yourself in the shoes of your customer, focus on delivering consistent value to your audience, and identify ways to make your business as helpful as possible.