Prioritizing trust is not just a superior sales tactic; it’s good business and the right thing to do. Having an exceptional product and five-star customer service is only half the battle. Without establishing trust, you can expect sales to be impacted. According to Salesforce, 95% of customers are more likely to remain loyal to a company they trust.
So, when implementing strategies to improve sales, brands and retailers should focus on how to build customer trust and loyalty.
The Importance of Customer Trust
In the eyes of 81% of consumers, friends and family members are a more trustworthy source of honest information than the companies themselves. More than half of customers (55%) say they now trust companies “less than they used to,” according to HubSpot research.
By contrast, when a customer trusts your company, you’ll likely increase sales in several ways:
- You’ll get more repeat business from existing customers. Ninety-two percent of customers will buy again from a business simply because they trust in the brand’s promise. This trust is advantageous as the cost of retaining a customer is often five times lower than new customer acquisition.
- Those customers will purchase more at a time. Eighty-eight percent of customers admitted they “spend more” with trusted companies.
- Those customers will purchase with greater frequency. Ninety-one percent of customers say they buy more frequently from the brands they trust.
- You’ll likely be able to upsell additional products and services to those customers. Ninety-two percent of customers say they’re more likely to purchase additional products and services from trusted businesses. As you know, these incremental sales are what can catapult your business beyond fiscal goals and into fast-growing success.
- You’ll get more new business from referrals. Ninety-three percent of customers say they’d be more likely to recommend the company to friends and family.
Earning this trust takes time and effort, but the payoff is worth it. Just a 5% increase in trust and customer retention can boost your profits by as much as 95%.
How to Build Customer Trust and Loyalty
If you’re wondering how to build customer trust and loyalty, build a strong foundation by doing the following:
1. Tell Your Story
Telling your story is paramount to establishing your identity. Take consumers beyond the products to understand where you’ve come from and where you’re headed. Develop content about your company founder and “the early days.” Show behind-the-scenes glimpses of what goes into product development and production. Convey expertise, awards, values, and the uniqueness of your approach.
You’ll find kindred spirits flock to your brand once they see who, how, and why you are, not just what or where you are. Online eyeglass retailer Warby Parker uses this concept with its “History” page which tells the story of one founder who lost his glasses on a backpacking trip. After spending a semester of grad school without them due to the expense, he decided to create an eyewear brand that is affordable, aesthetically-pleasing, and socially conscious. By designing glasses in-house and engaging customers directly, Warby Parker can provide prescription eyewear at a fraction of the cost.
Warby Parker’s story addresses a common problem—the expensive cost of glasses—and provides a solution—glasses that look great, function well, and are produced by a company that invests in giving back to the community. These sort of emotional appeals resound loudly in terms of authenticity and develop trust with audiences.
2. Avoid Sensationalizing
Sensational language is damaging to trust. Lucky Strike made this mistake when the cigarette company claimed that “physicians say Luckies are less irritating.” Skechers also felt the impact when the shoe company advertised their sneakers as having “toning” capabilities that could “improve cardiovascular health.”
The quickest way to erode customer trust is to overpromise and underdeliver. If you want customer trust, you have to earn it through clarity and transparency. Skip the gimmicks and the hype in favor of straightforward language. Give consumers clear pricing and list the features, allowing them to decide if the product is right for them or not. If there are common critiques of your ingredients or practices, consider fessing up to your mistake, making the necessary changes, and getting back on the path to regaining trust.
3. Create and Share Compelling Videos
Videos are a powerful medium for enhancing consumer trust—particularly in the form of customer testimonials. More than half of consumers won’t even consider doing business with you if you have less than four stars on popular review sites. And, 91% of consumers say they’re “more likely to use a business” that has positive reviews.
Brand ambassadors who are willing to go on record, testifying to their belief in your brand, hold greater weight than if you were tooting your own horn in a similar video. Simply emailing your customers and asking them for assistance might be enough or you may have to sweeten the deal by offering coupons or entry to win a grand prize.
Another type of video to consider is a “meet the team,” “message from our founder,” or “behind-the-scenes tour” that puts a face to your company and fosters an emotional connection. Take a page from craft breweries like Dogfish Head, noting how they use video to “tell a story” and show fans what labor of love goes into their products.
4. Make Customer Service a Priority
Branding and storytelling will take you far in terms of relationship building. However, you need to make sure you have a fully responsive team behind you, in the event a consumer has a question or if an issue arises. Train your staff to respond with knowledgeable answers, alleviate call center bottlenecks, use automation in your email response chain to buy time for your representatives to handle the inflow, and do what you can to provide an additional human touch to customer communications. Leave no disgruntled customer unaddressed.
Make it easy for customers to contact you—by email, chat, social media, and post, if possible. You may find it helpful to use behavior analytics software to obtain insights into how visitors are interacting with your website in order to improve user experience. Be sure you have a mobile-optimized website and/or mobile app to provide a truly seamless bridge between your virtual and physical presence.
5. Reward Customer Loyalty
Customer trust deepens as the relationship grows. The more trust you earn, the more consumers will spend. Maintaining a clear, consistent rewards program is the ideal way to hold onto a customer’s goodwill and cultivate long-term loyalty. Existing customers are 50% more likely to try new products, so it makes sense to implement strategies to reward their loyalty. Offering rewards points can show you appreciate the customer’s business, amid the competition. Customers enrolled in a loyalty program spend more money and spend more often than non-members.
If you want to expand your reach and build customer trust and loyalty with a larger group of consumers, consider Shopkick—a mobile shopping rewards app. Here’s how the rewards platform works: Shopkickers begin their purchase journey by browsing engaging in-app content from several brands and retailers, whether they’re at home or on the go. Users can check the Shopkick app to see which brands or retailers offer “kicks,” or rewards points, which incentivize shoppers to visit a store or browse online. In-store, Shopkick utilizes an engaging gamification strategy that drives shoppers to products at-shelf and encourages physical product interaction in exchange for kicks. This allows brands to boost product awareness when it truly matters most—in-aisle, with the product in hand. Shopkick also allows brands to tell their brand story the way that they want to by playing a video while consumers have the product in hand. By offering users an additional kick incentive for making a purchase, Shopkick closes the loop and drives sales. Eventually, Shopkick users redeem their kicks for free gift cards, which builds a positive affinity and loyalty for the brands and retailers that awarded them.
If you want to expand your reach and build customer trust and loyalty with a larger group of consumers, consider Shopkick—a mobile shopping rewards app.
There are so many ways to build customer trust and loyalty, no matter where you are in your company’s development, be it just starting out or looking to chug ahead of the competition and reach the next level. When you get right down to it, getting a consumer to trust in your company is not at all different than making a new friend: take the time to introduce yourself, introduce your family and friends (with video); listen to your new friend’s cares and concerns; and show your generosity.
Want more innovative ideas for building customer trust and loyalty? Read our success stories or contact Shopkick to learn how to become one of our partners and start driving greater loyalty right away.
Image courtesy of fizkes