Feeling like you're constantly striving to win over customers, only to find trust slipping through your fingers? We got your back. Customer trust boosts loyalty, increases referrals, and drives consistent sales, forming the bedrock for lasting business success.
The good news, we're about to unpack proven strategies to help you gain customer trust in 2023 and beyond.
81% of consumers see trust as a crucial element in their purchasing decisions. Brands and business owners should have the right strategies to transform their customer service department into a key customer retention tool.
In this guide, we’ll cover key strategies to not only make your customers satisfied but also turn them into your brand ambassadors. There’s more than just taking responsibility for issues and always putting customers first.
We’ll be unfolding all the secrets of customer trust in this article.
By the end of this read, you'll not only master these strategies but also learn how to implement them in your own business to not only attract but also retain and nurture a loyal customer base.
7 Powerful strategies to gain customer trust & loyalty
81% of customers make their shopping decisions based on their level of trust in a brand. Clear communication, authenticity, and taking responsibility for their satisfaction guarantee customer trust and loyalty. To understand it better, let’s head to our 7 proven strategies so your potential customers trust you over your competitors.
1. Know your target audience
Think of your target audience as your ideal crowd, the folks who'd be most interested in what you're offering. They're the group of people who’ll most likely buy your products or services. Knowing who you're speaking to can mean the difference between a resonating message and a whisper lost in the wind.
They're identified based on characteristics including demographics and personal interests like:
- Buying habits
- Marital status
- Technology usage
- Cultural background
- Geographic location
- Educational qualification
Why knowing your target audience is crucial
When you know your target audience you can better put your resources, money, and marketing efforts in the right place:
- Resource optimization: Targeting a specific audience makes sure your marketing budget and resources are used efficiently, reaching those most likely to convert.
- Tailored messaging: Understand who you're speaking to so your message resonates deeply, addressing specific needs or your customers’ core values.
- Product development: Customer insights can guide product features, making sure you meet real needs and desires.
- Build strong relationships: Understanding and addressing your target group’s specific needs fosters loyalty and builds long-lasting relationships with customers.
Steps to understand your target audience
Follow these steps to get to know your audience better:
- Market research: Conduct surveys, interviews, and focus groups. Dive into existing data from previous campaigns or sales.
- Online analytics: Google Analytics will provide insights into who visits your website – their age, interests, location, and more.
- Social media insights: Facebook and Instagram offer detailed analytics about your followers and their interactions.
- Competitor analysis: Examine who your competitors are targeting. While you don't have to mirror their strategy, it can give you valuable insights.
- Customer feedback: Regularly engage with and take feedback from existing customers. They're a goldmine of information about what you're doing right and where you can improve.
- Persona creation: Create detailed profiles of your ideal customers. What do they like? Where do they spend time? What are the pain points that your product or service can solve?
2. Promote transparency
Transparency is being open, honest, and straightforward about company practices, decisions, and outcomes. It’s no longer sufficient for brands to simply sell; they should also share. 94% of consumers are likely to be loyal to a brand that offers complete transparency.
Additionally, 73% are willing to pay more for a product that promises total transparency.
Wait, but why is this the case?
Brand transparency promotes trust with customers. When businesses are open about their processes, challenges, and successes, consumers feel they're treated as partners rather than just customers.
The best part, this trust isn’t just emotional, it translates to tangible business results.
To build a reputation for transparency, consistently communicate, own up to your mistakes, and proactively share behind-the-scenes insights. Whether it's a detailed breakdown of product ingredients, an open discussion about sourcing practices, or candidly addressing customer concerns, these efforts signal to consumers that a brand values honesty.
Everlane, an apparel brand, goes the extra mile in building its entire business model around what they term "Radical Transparency."
Here's how they've implemented this principle:
- Transparent pricing: Everlane breaks down the costs of producing each item including materials, labor, transport, and profit. They share these details with customers so they know where their money is going.
- Factory details: Everlane gives insights into their factories. They not only share photos and stories but even the history of these factories, making sure to the customers that they are committed to ethical labor practices.
- Environmental impact: Everlane understands the growing concerns over sustainability and gives details about its commitment to using organic materials and reducing plastic. They've also set clear goals like their pledge to eliminate virgin plastics from their supply chain.
3. Showcase positive reviews & testimonials
Online reviews and customer testimonials show a brand’s credibility and trustworthiness. They often sway potential customers' decisions more than the most sophisticated advertising campaigns.
Customer reviews act as third-party endorsements of a brand's claims. Nothing beats hearing about a brand straight from someone who's been there and tried that. This stems from the principle of 'social proof'—an innate human tendency to trust the collective opinion of a group.
Furthermore, showcasing positive experiences can also mitigate doubts a potential buyer has in their customer journey. It's just like asking a friend for their opinion on a product and then feeling more confident after hearing their positive feedback.
While recording a customer’s testimonial, give special attention to the presentation. Different testimonials, highlighting different aspects of a product or service, can appeal to various facets of a potential customer's decision-making process.
For instance, while one review emphasizes the quality of a product, another highlights stellar customer service, casting a wider net of reassurance.
You need to consider the medium too. While written testimonials have their merits, video testimonials—like reviews or "before and after" photos—can be even more impactful. They offer tangible, often relatable evidence of a product's value.
Let’s have a look at this in-home dog training company that features genuine feedback from platforms like Facebook and Yelp directly on their website. They also leverage video testimonials as a visual affirmation of the company's reliability in training dogs.
Instead of just telling you they're awesome, they let their satisfied customers do the talking. It's like bumping into a friend who can't stop raving about how their once rowdy pup is now the neighborhood's best-behaved dog.
It's genuine, it's relatable, and convincing of their expertise even before a potential customer makes contact.
4. Offer excellent customer service
Customers often approach customer service when they have a problem. How their concerns are addressed directly influences their trust level. 85% of customers claim their trust in a brand increases when their issues are handled promptly and effectively.
Conversely, 89% of customers reported switching to a competitor following a poor customer service experience.
In an age where products and services are increasingly commoditized, customer service often emerges as a key differentiator. When you invest in superior customer service, you not only retain customers but also turn them into brand ambassadors.
At its core, customer service begins before a sale is even made and continues long after. Your customer service team is the frontline of your brand's image. Investing in them is like investing in your brand’s reputation.
Here are the ways to make your customer service top-notch:
- Active listening: Pay close attention to customer queries and complaints. A customer service agent should fully understand the problem to provide an accurate solution.
- Empathy: A critical component often overlooked is to put oneself in the customer’s shoes. It’s about understanding their emotions and responding compassionately.
- Personalization: Addressing a customer by their name, understanding their history with your brand, and providing tailored solutions can make the customer feel special and valued.
- Proactive assistance: Don't just wait for a problem to be reported. If you anticipate potential issues, reach out and inform customers in advance.
- Training: Regular workshops and training sessions make sure your team is equipped with the latest product knowledge, problem-solving techniques, and soft skills to handle diverse customers.
- Feedback loops: Establish a system where customer service representatives can share feedback from customers, providing valuable insights to shape product improvements and service enhancements.
- Chatbots & AI: For immediate queries, chatbots can provide quick answers, ensuring customers aren't kept waiting. Meanwhile, AI can predict and recommend solutions based on past interactions.
- Integrated CRM systems: This allows your team to have a holistic view of a customer’s history, so they don’t have to repeat themselves each time they get in touch.
One of our favorite examples is Chewy’s exceptional customer service. A customer ordered special dietary cat food from Chewy but her cat passed away shortly after the order was placed. When they contacted Chewy for a return, they not only refunded them but also sent sympathy flowers.
Touched by this compassionate gesture, the customer shared their experience on social media channels. The story resonated with thousands, giving a human touch to the brand and emphasizing the importance of empathy and emotional intelligence in customer service. It’s a case of genuine customer care.
5. Be reachable
As the digital landscape proliferates with countless brands, those that prioritize accessibility stand out as more credible, customer-centric, and reliable.
If a potential customer has a question, concern, or even a fleeting curiosity about a product or service, their immediate inclination is to seek answers. The quicker and easier it is for them to get those answers, the more positively they view that brand.
It’s about providing immediate value and demonstrating that their time, as a consumer, is respected.
While 24/7 availability is challenging for smaller brands, consistency isn't. If your response time is within 24 hours, keep that. Over time, customers will trust your brand to live up to its promises.
However, it's not just about speed. The quality of interactions with customers matters just as much. Brands that make themselves available across multiple channels—whether it's through phone support, chatbots, social media platforms, or email—offer customers choices in how they want to communicate.
This multi-channel approach caters to varied consumer preferences, enhancing the overall customer experience.
Consider the rising popularity of live chats on individual websites and eCommerce platforms. Automated responses can cater to speed, but the human touch is irreplaceable. Make sure that beyond bots, there's a human ready to understand and empathize with the customer's concern.
Similarly, active social media profiles that engage with customer comments or DMs underscore a brand's commitment to open dialogue. Yet, accessibility isn't just about the initial touchpoint. It extends to post-purchase interactions too.
Brands that stay accessible for after-sales support, feedback, or even returns and exchanges underscore a long-term commitment to customer satisfaction.
6. Take ownership of the problem
Mistakes happen, but it's how brands respond that makes the difference in customer perception. When there's an issue, acknowledge it promptly. Waiting or avoiding can escalate the problem. Brands like KFC, during their chicken shortage, immediately acknowledged and humorously addressed the issue, which the customers appreciated.
Customers appreciate businesses that don't just focus on selling, but also on ensuring satisfaction, even when things go awry. Keep your customers informed about how you’re addressing the issue. Whether it’s a product recall or website downtime, a clear communication timeline can ease concerns.
Moreover, taking ownership can also provide companies with valuable feedback. Recognizing and addressing problems paves the way for refinement, ensuring that similar issues are minimized in the future.
Steps to take ownership of a problem:
- Acknowledge: Accept and recognize the issue without hesitation or deflection.
- Apologize: Extend a genuine apology to those affected, to indicate understanding and empathy.
- Investigate: Delve into the root cause to comprehend the problem's full scope.
- Act: Implement immediate solutions to address and rectify the problem.
- Follow-up: Engage with affected parties so their concerns are fully addressed and demonstrate continued commitment.
- Learn and refine: Use the feedback and experience to refine processes and prevent recurrence.
7. Always prioritize your customers
Prioritizing customers in digital marketing requires a blend of technology, real-time user data insights, and a genuine understanding of your audience's needs. Understand customer preferences and pain points to tailor your offers accordingly. In the ever-evolving business landscape, one mantra remains timeless: the customer is king.
It's about showing genuine concern for their well-being and satisfaction. In a world inundated with options, businesses that make customers feel valued and important stand out, creating strong emotional connections that go beyond transactions.
Furthermore, prioritizing customers is also a strategic move. Happy customers become brand advocates, driving word-of-mouth referrals which are often more powerful than traditional marketing. They provide valuable feedback, helping businesses refine their products, services, and overall strategy.
Consider the example of this online lingerie brand, aiming for broad appeal, adopting the AudioEye Trusted Certification for digital inclusivity. AudioEye makes the website user-friendly for all, especially for those with disabilities. Publicizing this certification signals the brand’s dedication to an inclusive shopping experience.
Their marketing strategies highlight this commitment, narrating tales of empowered online shoppers with varied abilities.
Here are robust strategies in digital marketing to prioritize prospects and gain customer trust:
A. Personalized content & offers
Use data analytics and customer behavior insights to tailor content, promotions, and offers to individual preferences.
B. Responsive & user-friendly web design
Make sure your website is easily navigable, mobile-responsive, and provides a seamless user experience.
C. Transparent data handling
Be clear about how you collect, store, and use customer data. Always adhere to data protection regulations to gain consumer trust.
D. Provide valuable content
Regularly publish high-quality, informative, and relevant content that adds value to the customer's journey.
E. Efficient product delivery & inventory management
Product deliveries should be timely and accurate with a seamless return and exchange process. Keep a transparent inventory system, keeping customers informed about product availability and potential restock dates.
F. Easy & transparent checkout process
Simplify the online checkout process, incorporating encryption and security. Be transparent about costs, including shipping and taxes.
G. Educate customers
Offer webinars, tutorials, and informative content that educates customers about your products, services, or industry trends.
H. Provide customer loyalty programs
These aren't just sales tactics but a way of saying 'thank you' to your loyal customers. Tailored offers, early-bird access, or exclusive content can make customers feel cherished.
I. Community building
Engage your customer base by building communities. It could be forums, social media groups, or in-person events. When customers feel they’re part of a larger family, building trust and loyalty naturally follows.
One of our favorite examples is this pet insurance company that utilizes visually compelling posts and stories to engage its audience. They share bite-sized infographics about common pet issues, video testimonials of satisfied pet owners, or even fun quizzes about pet care.
They also spotlight behind-the-scenes looks at how claims are processed. Eye-catching visuals with educational content appeal to the platform's user base, fostering a sense of transparency and reliability. Over time, this approach can transform followers into a community of informed and loyal customers, deeply trusting of the brand.
Customers trust the backbone of any thriving business in our digital era. From fostering transparency to offering customer service excellence, each strategy we've delved into serves as a powerful way to gain customer trust and form lasting connections.
The strategies we’ve unpacked? They're your toolkit, tried and tested, ready to turn curious visitors into your fans. Remember, every tactic, from showcasing genuine reviews to truly prioritizing your customers, is a stepping stone to a brand that resonates, connects, and thrives.
Ready to turn one-time buyers into lifelong fans? Implement these strategies, dive deep into customer satisfaction, and watch the loyalty (and conversion rates) roll in. However, taking your business to the next level requires more than just trust, it requires a robust online presence.
And who better to guide you than the experts?
Visit Business and Power now to amplify your brand presence. We are a digital marketing powerhouse that transforms businesses, increasing visibility and driving an influx of new leads to your business.