Thousands subscribed to your newsletter. Hundreds sharing your latest post on Facebook & Twitter. A growing list of customers. Multiple endorsements of your skills on LinkedIn. Plenty of reviews on Yelp.
What makes none of these really matter?
A lack of trust.
Any business applying marketing strategies to their channels will certainly see interactivity from their industry (subscriptions, shares, purchases) – but does your company really have what it takes to be a trusted authority?
If you were to remove all known presence of your business, online, would customers still seek what you have to offer?
The topic I want to talk about today is this process of building trust. This entails those first discovering your brand to the ones that have already made a purchase. Trust is a combination of many factors in motion at any given time.
The following are four of those fundamental items your business should have in place if you want customers (and the industry) to trust and care.
1. Online Transparency
Your website is the gateway to building trust. Each and every page should have signals which reassure the visitor is in the right location.
- Trust badges from reputable security companies
- Guarantees (with thorough explanations)
- An extensive, personal about us page
Do the test: Open your Web page to a fresh set of eyes and ask for their immediate feedback whether the site looks legitimate and whether they would buy a product/service through the channel.
If there is hesitation from the participant you should already know there is room for improvement.
Resource: Building a website people can trust.
2. Build Credibility via Insightful Content
People will only believe what you have to say if you have the data to prove it. They don’t want to simply hear you have an amazing product … they want to see it in action.
- Create and share full length tutorials on the usage of your product/service
- Solicit and answer frequently asked questions from your customers
- Compare your offer to the competition – point out flaws, benefits, and various features
Do the test: Utilize your knowledge and resources to cover a topic few competitors dare attempt. Show your credibility by giving away the biggest secrets to the offer. Give people an experience they won’t forget that’s backed by factual information.
If the visitor sticks around your website, digs deep into the content, and takes the time to convert (even on something as simple as leaving a comment) then you’re heading in the right direction.
3. Get Real on Social Media
People flock to social media to engage brands and individuals. They want a real connection and real communication. Relying on software or too much automation will kill your ability to create trust in your followers simply because you’re not being genuine – in real time.
- Devote a reasonable amount of time to initiate and solicit discussions
- Monitor and message individuals having problems and offer solutions
- Respond to criticism and feedback through these open platforms
Do the test: Look back through the past thirty days of your social media participation. If you see the majority of activity is automated or come across as canned responses then reassess your usage of the platforms and create a new strategy that allows you to actively participate (or even hand it to those within your business more suitable to the service).
If you see a shift in your social usage from dry and autonomous postings to a feed that’s populated by chat sessions, likes, shares, direct messages, and invites then you’re truly engaging your following and by building a relationship you will naturally build trust.
Resource: Being human on social media.
4. Go Above-and-Beyond with Service
What makes for a reliable friend makes for a reliable business – it’s the trust. Without it you can’t expect the relationship grow beyond a casual acquaintance. There will always be a question of doubt because you never really get to know the other individual (or in our case … business).
- An amazing experience when purchasing from a business is unforgettable
- A phone call, personalized email, or hand-written thank you note is an eye catcher
- Iron-clad guarantees, extensive support, and understanding feels welcoming
Do the test: Have a close friend call your company during an odd hour and give them a scenario that will test the limits and abilities of your customer service reps. Throw the occasional curveball, test their patience, and measure their response. Use that data to create a new protocol when interacting with customers.
If you’re always at the business then it’s easy to find yourself behind rose tinted glasses. Discover what’s really going on with your customer service and find ways to improve. After all – great customer service shows that cherish the customer and this sense of care will keep them coming back for more.