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Why consumer trust in more important than ever

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In times of unrest, whether the result of a busy trading period or a much bigger and unexpected challenge, consumers are on the lookout for one thing - a business they can trust; but it seems as though these are hard to come by. Even before this year’s events started to unfurl, research suggested that consumers’ trust in brands was already waning.

On average, only 34% of consumers say they trust most of the brands they use (Edelman)

These numbers are a sign that we need to do more, after all, if your consumers don’t trust you, they won’t do business with you - it really is as simple as that. In fact, 81% of consumers said that trust is a deal breaker or deciding factor in their buying decision. These days, the element of trust is more important than ever before. Trust isn’t something you can buy, however, it’s something that must be gradually earned. Don’t worry though, there are plenty of things you can do to help reassure your customers that you can be relied upon – in the good times and the rough.

Your customers have never been more ethically aware

There’s been a huge rise of the savvy shopper, as consumers become more skeptical and empowered than they ever have been before. Customers across every generation care about what businesses say and how they act, with more than six in ten consumers considering a company’s ethical values and authenticity before buying their products.

Where it previously may have not been a consideration, ethics now play a massive part in the customer’s decision. Act the wrong way in a sensitive situation or clash with your customers about their beliefs, and their trust in your business will diminish and you may lose their custom forever.

After a brand displays unethical behaviour or suffers a controversy, 45% of consumers said the brand would never be able to regain their trust, and 40% said they would stop buying from that brand altogether (Edelman)

What can you do?

  • Does your messaging align with the current situation? Be careful not come across too pushy in your sales and marketing and use less intrusive methods instead. Using user-generated content is a much gentler marketing approach - let your customers do the talking for you, and add signs of reassurance across different touchpoints of the customer journey such as customer reviews.
  • Be careful not to exploit the situation. Use difficult trading periods to hammer home what your business stands for, rather than push for hard sales

    Your existing customers are looking to you for reassurance

    Your current customers aren’t the customers you once knew. Just like all of us, they’ve changed, whether that’s their needs, their expectations, or even their financial situation. The last thing you need right now is to lose any of them because they don’t trust you to keep up your level of service. Remind them that you have their back and they can rely on you – if not to deliver like you would in ‘normal’ circumstances, to communicate with them and answer any of their concerns.

1 in 3 customers will leave a brand they adore and never buy anything from them again if they go through one bad customer experience (PwC)

What can you do?

  • Make sure that you’re delivering value. If you have customer success initiatives, for example, now’s the time to step them up. Show your existing customers just how useful you can be as you shif your focus from growth to retention.
  • Listen to your customers, and take note of their concerns. Having your finger on the pulse when it comes to how your customers are feeling will demonstrate that they’re valued, and you’re willing to adapt.

There are lots of new customers out there

Although it won’t be breaking news to you that the number of people now shopping online is astronomical (the estimated number of online shoppers is 2.05 billion), this year’s events have forced hundreds of thousands of people to head online to get their hands on what they’d usually pick up on their local high street. New customers mean hesitant customers, and we get it. There’s plenty to worry about when you shop at a new store for the first time. Are the products good quality? Is the customer service any good? Will I even receive my order? These concerns only increase under certain trading conditions. Add into the mix a generation of customers who aren’t familiar with shopping online at all, and you can see why trust is such a big deal.

What can you do?

  • Add trust signals such as customer reviews, testimonials and award wins wherever you can – not just on your website, across all of your marketing. Find out more about trust signals here.
  • Let your existing customers become advocates for your business by sharing real-life examples of people using your products and service. Seeing likeminded people having a great experience goes a long way towards helping people make a decision.

Shoppers want to make a connection

Wanting to form a friendly relationship is human nature, even more so when money is changing hands. Customers respond well to companies that offer a friendly, expert advice; efficient support and above all, clear and helpful answers – especially when times are a little tougher than usual. If you are accessible, approachable and transparent you will give your customer the assurance they need to give you their trust, and their business.

75% of consumers will still choose to interact with a real person even as the technology for automated solutions improves (PwC)

What can you do?

  • Make sure your customers can find you, whether that’s on your social channels, on the end of the phone, or on live chat.
  • Take the pressure off your support team, so they have more time to give to customers who need their help. Whether it means sharpening your customer experience and putting out enough communications to limit the number of calls coming in, or making sure your team have had the right training and adequate tech to get their job done effectively, putting these steps in place can free up your customer service team to do what they do best.
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