Why Brand Trust is Crucial to Your Bottom Line
Updated (originally posted on )
Do your customers trust your brand? The answer could make a big difference for your company. In fact, according to the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report, trust is now the make or break difference for brands.
The report found that 70% of consumers say trusting a brand is more important today than in the past, and more people are choosing to spend money with brands they trust—46% of people now say they trust most of the brands they use, up from 34% in 2019. For 53%, trusting the company behind a brand or product is the most important factor when making a buying decision, even more than price.
Trust is not only essential in both winning customers and keeping them, it also has a direct connection to your company’s financial success. A study by Accenture of more than 7,000 companies found that trust is as important as growth and profitability in the financial health of a company, and that a loss of trust can lead to a significant reduction in revenue.
To develop trust, a company must be honest, reliable, meet customer expectations, and fulfill the promises it makes. A company that develops a strong trust relationship with its stakeholders—not just customers but also employees, suppliers, and investors—will enjoy improved customer loyalty, higher levels of repurchase, more referrals, and a better reputation.
Follow these tips to create trust for your brand:
- Think of your customers before yourself, especially in times of trouble. When your customers are going through a difficult time, a sales pitch is the last thing they need. Rather than self-promotion, focus on finding ways you can help.
- Have good products and services. The first order of business when trying to develop trust with your customers is to actually offer a good product. No amount of caring customer service, thrilling social media content, or great advertising will be able to establish trust if your products or services are seriously flawed.
- Have a strong online presence. These days, nothing will make a potential buyer suspicious faster than a nonexistent, sketchy, or out-of-date website. According to the SurveyMonkey survey, 26% of U.S. consumers don’t trust companies without a website, yet 45% of small businesses still don’t have one. Make sure you have a professional-looking, functional website that contains all the information your customers might need and provides a good user experience.
- Be transparent. Most consumers are already wary of being taken advantage of by businesses—don’t feed into that fear by hiding things from your customers. Include your full contact information on your website, have an FAQ page that answers common questions, be upfront about pricing and policies, and be willing to answer questions.
- Share testimonials and good reviews. One of the best ways to get people to trust your business is to show them that other people trust your business. Include customer testimonials and positive reviews on your website and monitor your online reputation to make sure your company is presented in the best light.
- Have a strong social media presence. More and more businesses are using social media to reach their customers. While social media can be used for company news and special deals, it’s also a great way to show your customers your fun side! Use social media to give them a look inside your company culture and show them what makes your business unique.
- Listen to your customers and respond quickly. Every company should be actively soliciting feedback from customers, because knowing what your customers like and don’t like is the only way to be sure you’re giving them what they want. When a customer comes to you with a suggestion, complaint, question, or comment, get back to them as soon as possible—73% of consumers consider fast response time an important part of good customer service—listen carefully to their concerns, and show you care by taking action.
- Solve your customers’ problems. According to a study by SurveyMonkey, resolving problems to the customer's satisfaction is the most important element of customer service, but don’t wait until someone contacts your company—develop useful content that delivers value to your customers by showing you understand them and want to offer solutions to their problems.
- Don’t be a bot. According to the survey, 61% of Americans say “acting like a human being” is one of the most important elements of customer service, and 37% name “feeling like the customer service agent cares about you.” Don’t take an impersonal tone with your customers—be authentic and relatable and your customers will trust you more.
- Show your people, tell your stories. If you want your customers to think of you as more than just a company, show them the people behind the brand, and the stories behind your business. Create an engaging team page with profiles of key company personnel and use your about page to tell people how your company came to be, as well as the values and principles that drive it.
- Give customers multiple ways to contact you. Different people have different preferences for the medium they use to contact customer service. Make sure you cater to those preferences by giving your customers at least a few different ways to contact you, including email, phone, an online form, social media, live chat, etc.
- Create two-way communication. Outbound marketing like advertisements and emails can only do so much to influence purchasing decisions. Make sure your efforts are at least equally focused on nurturing relationship with your customers by asking them what they want via social posts, online surveys, and good old fashioned conversation.
- Own your mistakes. Everyone makes them, the trick is to turn every failure into an opportunity to show you’re willing to admit your mistake, fix the issue, and be better next time. Your customers will respect and trust you more if you own up to your mistakes than if you try to cover them up or refuse to accept responsibility.
- Be consistent. When it comes to consumers, familiarity breeds trust. Make sure all your online and physical brand elements (colors, logos, signage, etc.) are consistent, so customers can count on having the same experience whenever they encounter your brand.