New businesses are created every day and introduced into markets with established companies, increasing the sense of competition. However, existing organizations have the upper hand, as they have already established trust among their shoppers.
While often underrated, customer trust is the element that keeps consumers returning to a brand rather than seeking alternative products. Customer trust is vital for creating a loyal customer base, enhancing reputation, and maintaining sales.
The Importance of Customer Trust
Customer trust is built over time and directly impacts loyalty, retention, and advocacy. Consumer trust is a reciprocal behavior, meaning customers are willing to respond in the same manner that they receive.
Therefore, businesses that have excellent customer service often have positive reviews and consistent sales. On the other hand, companies that are unable to meet customer needs experience poor retention.
Consumers build their trust level from every interaction they have with a business, from their customer support to their product range. If the experience met the shopper's standards and expectations, they are likely to return. However, this takes insight into the modern customer needs.
According to a study, customers value-
While some of these things can be manufactured, the majority of things that customers value starts at the business level. Therefore, companies must create a universal mindset that extends through their corporate environment to the salespeople that work intimately with shoppers.
6 Ways to Build Customer Trust
One study found that 83% of customers reported that they would recommend a brand they trust to other consumers. In other words, building trust not only promotes customer loyalty but also generates new leads.
Therefore, businesses should prioritize enhancing their customer experience to build trust and increase expansion.
1. Offering Great Customer Service
Since customer service has a significant impact on the shopper's experience, employees should consistently provide fast and quality service.
Starting with employee onboarding, businesses should instill the importance of excellent customer service in the workspace. Workers should be ready to answer product questions, facilitate transactions, and resolve issues throughout the available sales channels.
While there are bound to be inquiries that require a more tailored resolution, management can develop a criterion that employees can follow to answer common questions. However, workers must remember to treat each case individually so shoppers do not feel overlooked or underappreciated.
2. Promoting Consumer-Generated Content
Studies have found that shoppers trust consumer-generated content more than business publications because they provide an unbiased perspective. Therefore, companies can promote positive feedback and customer experiences from clientele to generate new shoppers.
There are many types of consumer-generated content, including-
E-commerce stores can encourage online shoppers to leave reviews on the product's page for browsers' reference. On the other hand, traditional stores that have their own website strictly for information can create a testimonials page and manually collect reviews.
3. Maintaining Transparency
To build trust, customers need to understand what they can expect from a company from the start. Consumers do not respond well to general sales pitches, quick cash grabs, and cookie-cutter campaigns. Shoppers want to relate to a brand and feel valued, regardless of the final sale.
Salespeople and employees working face-to-face with shoppers should be completely transparent on what they can expect regarding-
- Policies (returns, cancellation, exchanges)
This not only establishes trust but opens up the possibility for long-term customer relationships.
4. Generating Feedback
Businesses should regularly ask for customer feedback to improve their services and ensure the shoppers feel valued. Management can carefully craft surveys to ask customers-
- Have the goods and services lived up to their standards?
- Is customer support readily available?
- What is their satisfaction level?
- How do they suggest the business improve their services?
While management can incorporate a star or 1-10 rating scale, most questions should be open-ended, allowing shoppers to express themselves freely.
5. Establishing a Loyalty Program
Creating a loyalty program is the best way to secure trust and retention among returning shoppers.
Studies show that 76% of consumers in the US are more likely to shop from brands that offer a loyalty program than those that do not. This is because many loyalty programs have an incentive system that enables shoppers to collect rewards with each purchase.
Some loyalty programs implement spending targets, where customers earn merchandise when they spend a certain amount. Other programs enable members to collect points from each transaction and redeem them once they've reached their benchmark.
Regardless of the reward system, loyalty programs incentivize repeat purchases, preventing customers from seeking products elsewhere.
6. Putting the Customers First
Ultimately, the customers' needs should always come first. Therefore, businesses should foster a customer-centric work environment where consumers are considered through every step of the process, from product development to closing sales.
This requires all staff to be on the same page about prioritizing needs and overall decision-making. Each decision made should be routed back to customer needs to determine if it benefits shoppers.