Brand trust is more critical in today’s business landscape than ever before. As consumers adapt their shopping habits and purchasing behaviours in the wake of the COVID19 pandemic, brands have to restructure their engagement and business models to reflect a new reality where trust is a scarce commodity.
As doubt surrounding fulfillment times, product availability, and consumer privacy concerns erodes consumer confidence, more and more consumers are turning to brands that they know and trust and align with their values.
According to Saul Klein, the Gustavson School of Business dean, “CEOs are being viewed as societal leaders entrusted to take a stand on social issues, from climate change to addressing racial injustice” more than ever before. In fact, trust in brands and businesses eclipses that of trust for news and media.
All of this is to say building brand trust isn’t just a priority for brands and businesses; it’s a necessity.
Brand trust has a nebulous definition in today’s business environment. Researchers from the Journal of Marketing define brand trust as “the willingness of the average consumer to rely on the ability of the brand to perform its stated function.” Still, a more accurate real-world definition would be the degree to which customers can trust that a brand will follow through with its promises and meet their expectations.
Consumers build relationships with brands the same way they build relationships with people. Many will have expectations and standards regarding how they want to be treated. They will go the distance in continuing to engage with a brand that treats them well, with 86% of customers in 2020 willing to pay more for a better experience.
Naturally, consumers prefer purchasing from honest, transparent, and trustworthy brands, and they’re not afraid to vote with their wallets. When customers trust a brand, they’re 53% more likely to purchase their products and are twice as likely to become loyal customers.
Consumers have limitless options just a few clicks away in today’s digital-first world, and they won’t hesitate to look for alternatives if they deem one untrustworthy.
The age-old adage of trust taking years to build, seconds to break and forever to repair rings true for both personal and consumer-business relationships.
One bad experience with a trusted friend can mar a decades-long relationship, and just one bad experience can cause 32% of all customers to stop doing business with a brand they love. So, even if you’re a beloved brand with a loyal customer base, relenting on your trust-building efforts might just cause you to lose out on a third of your audience.
There’s no doubt about it – brand trust drives growth, but how do you build brand trust in the first place?
Customers may not always be right, but they expect to be treated like they are. Happy customers are repeat customers, and delivering extraordinary customer experiences is the key shows that brands are walking the walk.
In 2021, outstanding customer experiences (CX) and customer service (CS) will beat out product price and quality as the primary factors driving customer purchase decisions. While 81% of customers need to trust a brand before making a purchase, high CX scores positively impact average consumer spend by 140% and customer loyalty by 74%, respectively.
Additionally, bad customer service doesn’t affect just the likelihood of one customer buying from you; it affects how future customers will perceive you too. While 72% of satisfied customers share their positive customer experiences with six or more people, 13% of dissatisfied customers will share their negative experiences with 15 or more people.
Remember how more than 30% of customers leave a brand after just one bad experience? While consumers trust brands more than traditional and government media, they trust customer reviews and testimonials the most. Some reports state that more than 90% of customers trust earned media such as customer reviews and testimonials.
Imagine how this statistic can compound if you push your customer service to the wayside.
This is all to say that if you want your customers to trust you, you have to prove that you’re willing and ready to step up to the plate. To learn more about why poor customer service or a lack of it will kill your business, check out our customer service guide.
Customers care about personalized services, promotions and experiences. According to Epsilon, 80% of consumers report that they’re more likely to engage with businesses that offer personalized experiences, with an overwhelming 90% saying that they find tailored CX appealing.
As social media algorithms grow more advanced, online denizens have more control than ever before to curate the media that they consume. With more and more brands engaging in social commerce and digital channels, the collection and collation of consumer information, data and purchasing habits have reached critical mass.
While many consumers are willing to share their data as long as it improves the shopping experience, many more are unhappy and concerned with how invasive some brands are in personalizing their experiences.
A 2019 survey conducted by Gartner found that 38% of consumers will “stop doing business with a company if they find personalization efforts to be ‘creepy.’”
A more recent report published by Deloitte in 2021 found that most personalization efforts involving consumer data such as receiving sales alerts from regularly frequented brands and mobile offers while browsing retail stores are viewed as primarily positive, while geo-tracking recommendations from unknown brands and offers from smart “listening” devices are viewed as creepy and intrusive.
Digital personalization is a powerful tool, but it has to be appropriately executed and responsibly to avoid alienating and creeping out your customer base.
Many brands are still struggling to recognize the difference between being helpful and invasive. Personalized experiences and product recommendations are great, but they have to be offered at the right time, at the right channel and to the right person.
It might be evident that customers receive promotions and coupons from a chatbot or a live chat agent much better than offers generated through smart “listening” devices. Still, many brands are more focused on perceived improvements to their bottom line than their customers’ experience.
Business is always personal, and honesty is the best policy for relationships of all kinds. Geo-tracking, device listening, and cookie collection provide marketers with a treasure trove of customer information but can be seen as unsettling and intrusive by the very people that they intend to target.
While many personalization efforts are helpful and viewed positively by consumers, being honest and transparent about your data collection and personalization efforts let customers know that your relationship with them isn’t just transactional.
Giving the option to opt-out of data collection and customize what information is being tracked and how it’s being used provides brands with an opportunity to cultivate a more intimate, sincere relationship with their customers than ever before.
In today’s post-truth era, brands must operate differently to build sincere relationships with their customers. Customer personalization, customer service and data collection constitute significant parts of the modern eCommerce experience, but brands must execute them properly to build brand trust in a meaningful way.
Navigating this new business landscape is challenging, but the collection and use of customer data to drive personalization efforts will be endemic within the eCommerce space moving forwards.
We don’t know if or how the competition is doing it, but we’re helping companies offer the best customer service by providing them with a smarter way to connect with Chatso, our AI-assisted live chatbot.
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