How to Build Trust with Your Customers
By Ron Welty, Founder & Chief Client Officer
Trust is one of the most important building blocks of any relationship, including the ones you have with your customers. From financial institutions like banks to trades like auto repair shops, virtually every industry is built on the foundation of trust. With endless options for customers to choose from, they simply won’t do business with a company that can’t be trusted.
Brand trust has the power to improve customer loyalty, build a cult following, and increase sales. So, how do you build trust with customers? We outlined six ways to gain a customer’s trust and confidence in your brand.
Focus on Associate Experiences
Happy and engaged associates are key to building trust with your customers. According to Edelman, 78 percent of consumers believe how a company treats its associates is one of the best indicators of its level of trustworthiness.
Brands can focus on improving associate experiences by offering competitive compensation packages, investing in their professional development, allowing for open communication, rewarding exceptional work, and maintaining good work-life balance. As a result, your associates will be more inclined to represent your brand well by delivering exceptional experiences to your customers.
Whether it’s a customer’s credit card information being hacked or a data breach of millions of users, it’s become increasingly difficult for customers to trust companies with their information. It’s important for brands to prioritize security when building trust with customers. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, 85 percent of consumers will not do business with a company if they have concerns about its security practices.
Make sure your privacy rules are easy for customers to find and understand and always ask a customer’s permission before giving away any of their data. Should your company experience any security or data breaches, notify customers immediately. Be sure to take the proper measures to regain their trust, such as offering compensation to victims, providing proof that the right security systems are now in place, and explaining the steps your company took to resolve the issue.
Always be Available
When it comes to customer reviews, queries, and complaints, it’s important for brands to be accessible to customers. When customers struggle to communicate—whether it’s due to a long hold time, language barrier, or limited business hours—they’ll be more likely to distrust your brand. Nowadays, customers expect to be able to reach brands around-the-clock, whether it’s via social media, email, text messaging, mobile app, the telephone, or on your website.
While it can be costly to staff associates 24/7, artificial intelligence can help deliver on your omnichannel customer service. Consider deploying AI chatbots to help answer frequently asked questions or common customer issues. According to IBM, chatbots can answer up to 80 percent of routine questions for businesses, which helps speed up response times and frees up associates for more challenging inquiries.
Be Honest and Transparent
For many customers, seeing is believing, so don’t guarantee anything you can’t deliver on. Cohn & Wolfe found that 91 percent of customers value brands for authenticity. Whether it’s your brand promise, marketing materials, or product pages, be sure to set clear and realistic expectations for your customers.
Levi Strauss & Co. serves as a great example of maintaining authenticity for over 165 years. Despite the rise of fast fashion and changes in denim trends, Levi’s maintains its “built-to-last” message through its quality and signature design details that have withstood the test of time. As a result, young consumers today say Levi’s is one of the most trustworthy brands.
Publish Customer Reviews and Testimonials
Customers trust other customers like they would a friend or family member. In fact, BrightLocal found that 78 percent trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
Leverage online review platforms and voice of the customer tools to encourage customers to share their experiences through testimonials and reviews. Strategically place positive reviews and testimonials on your website, such as your product and services pages. When customers leave reviews—good or bad—be sure to respond to them within about a week’s time. This will help your brand to be more honest and transparent as well as provide opportunities to improve upon any negative experiences.
Provide Consistent Experiences
Customers want brands they can count on to deliver exceptional experiences time after time again. According to the Aberdeen Group, companies that are able to provide a consistent customer experiences retain 89 percent of their customers—that’s a 56 percent higher customer retention rate than inconsistent companies.
To ensure you’re providing consistent customer experiences, consider mystery shopping services to objectively evaluate your brand at any given moment. Mystery shoppers look, act, think, and shop just like your actual customers, so you can be sure you’re delivering consistent customer experiences in every interaction.
Evaluate Your Customer Experience
Building trust with customers is key to improving customer relationships and loyalty. Just don’t expect it to happen overnight. Building trust with customers takes time, so it’s important for brands to continuously work to improve security, communication, and customer experiences.
IntelliShop has the solutions your organization needs to build trust with customers. Our voice of the customer tools are designed to gain a subjective understanding of what your actual customers think and feel about their experiences with your brand, while our mystery shopping program can objectively evaluate your customer experience at every touchpoint. We’ll then present our findings to you in a detailed, actionable InSite™ report to create a strategy that will help improve brand trust. Contact IntelliShop today to request a consultation.