Trust between the customer and brand isn’t always so evident. People are wary of who they give their money to now more than ever. We can read into this too much, but the matter of the fact is that the market is too large and people just aren’t sure who to trust. In a day and age when scams are very frequent, it’s only natural to do thorough research before you spend money on anything.
That being said, it’s your job as a business to extend a hand to your customers and show them why they should trust you. It may seem like a very abstract concept, but building trust between you and your target audience doesn’t have to give you a headache. Just like with everything else, you’ll need a game plan. In this case, you’ll have six to choose from.
1. Have a voice
Without a voice, your brand is just a name. Soon enough, people will forget all about it. Coming up with a brand voice makes you more memorable, more human, and more trustworthy. It can be hard finding your voice, but if you ask yourself one simple question, you’ll be there in no time. That question is: what do I stand for?
In other words, figure out what you care for most. Whether it’s the environment, family values, or anything in between, make sure it’s a consistent part of your voice. The message you’re trying to send should be evident and easy to understand. Be direct, but don’t be pushy. It’s important for your customers to know where you stand but try not to push your agenda onto them.
Also, make sure that your message matches your actions. Consistently saying how you care about the environment and then not actually going green or doing anything to help the environmental crisis just makes you a hypocrite. People want to see you act on your ideals as well as hear them.
2. Be transparent
Though you may not think what goes on in the office is any of the public’s business, some of it actually needs to be. The more transparent and open you are about how you run business, the better you’ll resonate with your users. People don’t like businesses who keep everything behind closed doors and who refuse to share any of the information the public might want to know.
It’s pretty simple, those who are reluctant to share anything with the public probably have something to hide. You could be the most honest business in the world, but people are simply not going to believe you unless they have evidence for it. No one just takes anyone’s word for anything anymore.
With the facts out in the open, you’ll have nothing to worry about and people will have no reason to talk. Even if someone starts saying untrue things about your business, there will be outright solid evidence to show them they’re wrong. In any case, people will have no reason to distrust you when you’re completely open with them.
3. Build relationships with customers
By building relationships, you’re building trust. You can do this on a more personal level by taking an interest in your existing customers and showing them that you care. Whether it’s remembering their birthdays or sending an email for the holidays, you’re bound to win them over with the attention you’re giving them.
When they come into the office, always be kind and interested in whatever they have to say. People like being listened to, so extend your hand, ask them how their day is going, and you’ll already be making an impact. Little tokens of affection are also very nice ways to nurture customer relationships.
Just think of Christmas, for example. This is the time of year when everyone’s thinking of someone else. You can send all your customers season’s greeting cards to thank them for their business. This is bound to impress them and make them trust you even more. Don’t be afraid to splurge on gift baskets for your most valued customers or whenever you make a new business deal. Giving even the smallest gift makes a person feel appreciated and loved. This is a gateway to trust.
4. Own your mistakes
You’re not a robot, of course, you’re going to make mistakes from time to time. Regardless of how big or small that mistake is, you have to own it. Most companies try to sweep it under the rug, bury it, and completely forget about it. This just makes it seem like you’re ashamed of the mistake you made and leaves room for others to dig up dirt about you.
Owning your mistakes and making an effort to publically fix them makes you way more responsible and trustworthy. By doing so, you admit that you aren’t perfect and show your customers your humane side. A public apology may be a nice touch, but it shouldn’t be the only thing you have to offer for your mistakes. Instead, come up with a plan of action to fix what’s broken.
This plan should also be public and you should let people in on your progress from time to time. This will let them know that you’re still actively working on fixing your mistake and that the plan and public apology weren’t just a sham. People respect those who can tell when they’re wrong and who actively try to make amends. They’re going to forgive you much more easily if you show them you’re growing and changing.
5. Work on Authenticity
Being authentic may be the safest bet you have that your customers will take to your brand. With so many similar products on the market, people like seeing something completely original and unique. Whether it’s the design and patterns you use, the way your product works, or the product itself- it should be something they tie only to you.
The trouble here is that customers won’t be the only ones who notice your authenticity. Competitors may want to get a piece of the action, which may lead them to copy your products. If you believe that someone is selling knock-off or has copied any part of your product or process, you should contact experts like Actuate IP. This way, you’ll be able to protect your authenticity and show your customers that it’s not your product which doesn’t work the way you promised.
If you just let people get away with things like these, it makes you seem rather unprofessional and untrustworthy. Your audience rarely knows the difference between the knock-offs and the original, leaving them to think it’s you who lacks quality and originality.
To have grounds to take legal action against someone copying you, make sure that you’ve protected your product with copyright. Everything from the making process to the specific parts of your product should be protected. Also, make sure that you’ve protected the idea you’ve had for the product. This way, you have plenty of evidence that the idea, manufacturing process, and product were all yours to begin with.
If we look at the other side of the mirror, it’s also important not to copy anyone around you. Using your competitors for inspiration and coming up with something yourself is fine, but copying anything off them is a huge no. Not only will this be bad for business, but it also shows your customers that you’re someone not to be trusted. Integrity and trust don’t go without each other.
6. Always reply
Lastly, you should always reply to your users. Whether it’s emails, social media accounts, or any other platform, their comments and messages should not go unanswered. The main benefit of technology is that it has made communication much easier. In business, this means that you don’t have an excuse not to listen to your users anymore. People want to be heard and listened to.
Post relevant content to engage your users and you’ll see how many more comments and messages you’ll be getting. Ask them questions, be funny, and encourage their interactions by replying. Not only does this bridge the gap between the firm and the customer, but it also makes you seem more down to earth.
Companies usually seem way out of our reach, thus making them less human. You become something abstract instead of something they can relate to. By communicating, you show people that you’re just as human as they are. This makes it much easier for them to trust you and guarantees an increase in sales.
Loyalty comes hand in hand with trust. This means that, by building trust, you’re building business relationships that will last a lifetime. To grow and expand your firm, you’ll need to attract as many new customers as you can, but you’ll also have to retain them. Trust is the healthiest glue that can tie you and your target audience together, so don’t be afraid to use it excessively.
huge no. Not only will this be bad for business, but it also shows your customers that you’re someone not to be trusted. Integrity and trust don’t go without each other.
Guest Post: About the Author
Nick is a blogger and a marketing expert currently engaged on projects for Media Gurus, an Australian business, and marketing resource. He is an aspiring street artist and does Audio/Video editing as a hobby.