When it comes to running a business, trust is an essential ingredient in the recipe to success.
By Taral Patel
According to research from PWC, more than one-third of customers said why their trust in the business was the most influential reason that they chose one brand over another. But building this confidence with customers can seem like an impossible uphill battle for many companies, particularly small businesses with significantly smaller marketing budgets and lower brand recognition.
In order to establish a trustworthy reputation, small companies need to be aware of the ways to foster this confidence in consumer relationships, particularly online.
First impressions are incredibly important here and there is little room for error. So, how can your SMB ensure that its customers truly trust your brand?
1. Build it into the Customer Experience
The customer experience (CX) is typically what establishes or destroys the trust that a customer has with your brand. In fact, according to a survey from CNBC, up to 75% of consumers agreed that their trust in a business diminished after a poor experience with a business, their product, or their services. However, if a business offered an excellent CX, then 79% of consumers agreed that it made them trust the company more.
Remember that much of the CX is dependent on the first few interactions that a customer has with your business.
Typically, one of the first interactions that customers will have with your business these days will be online and on your website. Therefore, every detail about the customer experience online needs to be designed to impress your visitors and establish a trustworthy relationship.
You want to be absolutely sure that your website makes a great first impression based on looks. If it is unattractive or doesn’t work correctly, why should a customer trust that your product is good quality?
Be sure to use quality visuals and opt for a professional template if you are using an e-commerce hosting service. Additionally, keep an eye out for broken links or loading issues that could slow things down. Of course, a good CX requires more than just an attractive appearance, so focus on functionality as well.
You want to make sure that your website is providing a pleasant experience that truly engages your customers. Be sure that you are including the kinds of elements on your website that improve the CX, such as quick navigation, easy communication portals, quick loading speeds, and transparent pricing with no hidden fees or upcharges at the checkout page.
2. Don’t Worry About Perfection When It Comes to Ratings
Customer reviews are an unavoidable trust-building factor. According to a study from Bright Local, 86% of customers actively seek them out before they decide to buy from a new brand. Furthermore, consumers read an average of at least ten reviews before they felt they could trust a business.
When it comes to customer reviews, most brands are scared that a single low-star rating will destroy their reputation. However, customers tend to appreciate honesty over perfection much of the time.
This same report also found that a mere 11% of customers would only buy if a brand had a perfect five-star rating. One-third of customers would still purchase from a business that had a three-star rating, and 46% would purchase if the average was four stars.
The thing that mattered much more to consumers was transparency and honesty. If a business only published glowing reviews, it actually made customers skeptical of the validity of the feedback. Seeing a healthy mix of good, mediocre, and critical reviews lets customers know what they can expect, and it helps them to trust your company more.
It is also important that your reviews are providing customers with all of the information they need to form an opinion about your business. One of the best ways to ensure this is to set up your review prompts in a way that allows all customers to share both the pros and cons for transparent feedback.
For example, these Trustpilot reviews urge customers to discuss what they liked and disliked about the product.
While this does invite some consumers to leave negative feedback, it actually makes Trustpilot appear more trustworthy to new customers who want to learn about the product before they make a purchase.
3. Know When and How to Personalize
Personalization is certainly important for engaging customers and urging them to convert, but the way that you go about it can have an impact on customer trust. Today’s consumers know that their private data is being tracked and used for online personalization – however, there are some lines that should not be crossed.
According to Accenture’s study, 41% of consumers found it creepy when brands sent them texts or mobile notifications if they were physically located nearby. 35% agreed that hyper-targeted social ads for products they had previously viewed or searched was also alarming.
In order to build trust with your customers while still offering them the personalized experiences they prefer, it is best to be totally transparent about your methods. Let your customers know what data your business tracks and why – and also give them an option to opt out if they prefer, like Cutter & Buck does on their website.
Giving this power over to the consumer can make them trust your business more, especially when it comes to handling their private data.
Trust is critical for all relationships, whether it be platonic, romantic, or professional. It is often built overtime but it can unfortunately crumble in an instant.
When it comes to customer relationships, it is important that you are establishing trust from the very beginning with strong first impressions. Be sure that every element of your website and marketing strategy is designed to get customers to trust you more.
Ask customers to share their honest opinions and be as transparent as possible with your audience to give them more reasons to trust your business.
Taral Patel is a digital marketer specializing in content marketing. He works at E2M Solutions Inc as a content strategist and helps brands in building a prominent online presence through his advanced content marketing techniques. You can read his post How did a Blog Post Earn 10K Organic Traffic in 3 Months Without Promotion which explains some of his techniques for building organic traffic on your website. Connect with him on @connect2taral.
Trust stock photo by Vaniato/Shutterstock