Building trust is important to every customer experience so how do you build trust for new customers
Trust is an incredibly powerful element to any successful relationship or partnership. This translates clearly into your relationships with your customers too, with trust being a critical component to increasing your customer base and growing your loyal fans. It is so important to consumers that it cannot bought or faked successfully, you have to earn it the hard way. Trust is also much harder to create than to lose and your reputation is tied up in the trust that people have in you, your products and services.
Given that trust is earned how can you maximise your potential to grow trust? Unless you have an existing, powerful brand reputation, many new customers come to you with little or no trust in you unless you have been recommended to them by somebody that they trust. So, trust can be transferred through personal recommendations whether that is through reviews or by word of mouth - the most powerful recommendation that you can get. There is an implied scale to advocacy with reviews on a website or app at the lower end of the scale and personal recommendation at the top. Reviews, however, are still very important with a greater reach than word of mouth. Reviews are at their most powerful when they are an authentic representation of your customer experiences, with all reviews included not just the five-star ones.
Moving up that scale are endorsements by people that they trust or consider an authority or have some fame, notoriety or reputation that the customer has bought into. The closer that the customers are to the source of the endorsement the more powerful and convincing the narrative and the more trust that engenders. Right at the top are word of mouth stories told by a trusted friend or member of the family, who can articulate and bring to life the experience in a compelling and emotional way that resonates with the listener and drives a sense of inclusion and a feeling of wanting to be part of the same experience.
Beyond reviews and recommendations there are other ‘cues’ that customers respond to and that aid in building trust in a brand. If the experience is designed to be customer focussed or customer centred it resonates very well and the authentic desire to put customers’ needs, wants and emotions into the experience leads customers to feel that you really care about them. Again, this cannot be faked it has to be real and customers have to feel it you cannot just talk about it, you have to demonstrate those qualities to drive real trust.
There are a number of trust cues that do not come from the individual customer experiences but are built internally by the actions brands take and the reputation they build. The way brands treat their employees and the reputation they have as an employer can also impact your trust credentials. If a brand is ethical and has strong credentials around sustainability and environmental concerns these can all add to the trust that can be built and have a halo effect on the trust of customers and a knock-on impact onto the likelihood to trial or purchase the brands’ products and services.
Lastly if a brand invests in gathering customer feedback, listening to customers and closing the feedback loop, they can build trust. By showcasing what they have learnt and what they are doing to continue to push forward, improving and elevating customers’ experiences based upon genuinely engaged customers’ feedback they build trust in their brand. It is another way of showing that you care about your customers and that you are invested in them, building a relationship and adding to the emotional connection of the customer experience.
The combination of these factors can create a powerful trust story for new customers, demonstrating that you have a clear customer roadmap and that they can trust you when they are considering making a purchase for the first time.