In today’s business world, customers have all the power. From being able to search every business in their area to finding a product to match their exact needs in seconds, you as a business owner or marketer must look for ways to build trust in your company. By increasing brand awareness and creating a feeling of brand certainty, you can keep consumers’ attention and have them coming back for more instead of choosing the competition.
Your brand’s reputation is in the hand of those who work directly with the customers. They are the face of the company, the people most remembered when customers revisit an experience, and a make-or-break partner between your brand or product and the customer.
Take the receptionist working at the doctor’s office answering phones and scheduling appointments. If that receptionist fails to be pleasant or even responsive to calls, the potential patient may not want to pursue a relationship with the business past that attempt. He or she may not have the confidence in your business to improve after this first interaction. On the other hand, a receptionist who picks up a phone call after a few rings, answers politely, and actively tries to be of service, will help your potential patient trust that not only is the receptionist knowledgeable, but that other workers like her, including the doctor, care about the customer and they experience they have.
Starting by creating a positive company culture is a great way to improve the customer experience and therefore building trust among new and returning customers. Forbes suggests that customers return at higher numbers when employers hire quality staff members that feel valued in their positions. And when those employees offer great customer service, 86% of consumers report that they would buy more from a business, according to Sage.
Have you often found yourself wondering how to build trust with your customers today? One sure-fire way is to meet them where they already are — on social media. Today, social media is where 46% of potential customers go before purchasing an item or visiting a store, according to Marketing Tech Blog. They use social media to look for promotions and discounts, to reach a customer service representative, or to even offer their feedback. Therefore, it is vital to have a vibrant and active presence.
However, it’s important to remember that while social media makes sense for everyone, not every platform makes sense for your ideal customer. For example, businesses looking to engage professionals would probably receive more interaction from their audience on a platform like LinkedIn instead of something like Instagram. To understand what works and doesn’t work, take a look at your demographic and audience behaviors. Younger audiences enjoy fast paced media with lots of imagery and color such as Instagram. Creative, DIY lovers flock to Pinterest. Male audiences enjoy Facebook and Tumblr, according to Pew Research Center.
It isn’t enough to simply post about your brand every so often on your social networks. You must also actively manage your brand’s image in order to build continuous consumer trust. This means interacting and addressing issues with your customers, both digitally and face-to-face.
When responding to complaints, Entrepreneur suggests following this pattern: listen, interpret, respond, and monitor. Avoid waiting too long or sending a template response for each person. Avoid excuses, stay on subject, and take ownership whether you feel you were in the right or not. And finally, thank a person for the complaint. All of this builds up consumer trust as it shows that your business is prepared to make amends for mistakes as well as being consumer-focused and driven to make things right for the customer. For your business, it helps the upset consumer see that you care about what their needs and wants are, rather than what your bottom-line is.
Your business or marketing department shouldn’t fear the reviews either, especially from online sites such as Yelp or ZocDoc. Search Engine Land states that 88% of consumers read reviews before making a purchasing decision. Even better news is that 72% say that positive reviews help build trust and awareness.
As a small business it can be tempting to pay a company that claims to get you positive reviews. However, you must be careful, as these reviews often are not legitimate and will get you flagged on review sites like Yelp. Instead, you can boost your review numbers by asking your own customers to do the work. For example, provide a button on your website or at the point of sale that directs customers to a review site with a call-to-action such as “Let Us Know What You Think!” You can also have your checkout or sales staff hand out fliers to customers who’ve reported positive experiences that contain instructions or directions on how they can provide their own review.
While a customer can research your business, product, or service, they still may need more information before making a decision. In order to keep customers engaged and educated, you must provide them with value through blog content, business information, how-to videos, and/or social media posts.
Moz suggests providing content that is unique to your business only. For example, a lawyer’s office could provide a video showing a walk-through of what a court mediation process entails or a healthcare office can provide an interactive map on local flu outbreaks. In both cases, the content these businesses are supplying is helping people by answering common questions or addressing concerns.
Your potential customer or client could be looking for a business just like yours now. But without reviews, positive reports of customer service, or a content strategy that stands out, they may be missing you entirely. By strategizing simple, effective ways to start building trust with your customers, your business or marketing team can shape the way customers see and interact with your brand.