Gaining consumer trust is key to retaining customers. When your company achieves consumer trust, something wonderful happens. It creates a consumer-brand relationship that gives your company loyalty and brand evangelism.
Being honest, having good customer service, and being consistent are some of the ways your company can gain a customer’s trust.
Honesty and Transparency
Practicing honesty and transparency is the best policy when it comes to marketing. These two principles are arguably the biggest ways to win consumer confidence and trust. Here’s an real-world example.
Back in 2016, Sig Sauer, a firearms company, underwent scrutiny when a safety concern about their P320 came out. Sig Sauer did not acknowledge this claim until an independent gun shop tested the safety concern and found it to be true.
Transparency: At this point, Sig Sauer wasn’t transparent with consumers. They didn’t let consumers know if they were investigating the issue. They were not proactive in their crisis management of the issue. This led to consumers being unsure what was happening with the P320.
When the test from the independent gun shop came out, Sig Sauer did not fully acknowledge an issue with their product. Sig Sauer did not want to admit to a safety issue with the P320, but rather acknowledged it only as a potential safety concern. They offered a “Voluntary Upgrade” to mask this.
Honesty: In the end, Sig Sauer chose pride over honesty with their consumers about their product. This is evident by the term Sig Sauer used to correct the safety issues. There is a clear difference between “Voluntary Upgrade” and “Mandatory Recall.”
A “Voluntary Upgrade” implies there isn’t an issue with their product and instead shifts blame to the consumer. If the issue happens with a non-upgraded pistol it is now the fault of the consumer, not Sig Sauer.
“Mandatory Recall” infers that Sig Sauer is taking ownership of the fault in their product. It clearly states that there is an issue with the P320 and that it needs to be addressed for the pistol to operate as intended and to minimize potential harm.
Because of how they handled this situation, the consumer trust in Sig Sauer is low. Consumers considering their products are uneasy since they aren’t sure how the company will react if they (the consumers) have an issue with their product. Will they be ignored? Will Sig Sauer fix their issue? Will Sig Sauer blame the issue on them?
It also didn’t help that, at the time, Sig Sauer’s customer service was less than responsive to people making inquiries about this issue.
Excellent Customer Service
Customer service can be the breaking point for consumers, especially ones that are trying your company out for the first time. You want every consumer interaction to be a positive experience, even if they’re having issues with your product or service.
Corsair is a company that produces high end computer accessories like gaming keyboards. Corsair’s flagship, the K100, seemed to offer everything I needed at a steep price of $229. It had programmable keys, dedicated audio controls, RGB lighting (I love having my keys glow red at night), heavy gauge cables, and a pass-through USB port.
I began having issues as soon as I plugged in the keyboard. It was saving keyboard shortcuts to random keys (pressing “W” would open a new tab) and it was causing my computer to type on its own, even when the keyboard was unplugged. I could not resolve these issues and began having other issues with the keyboard. At this point, I reached out to Corsair for assistance with their product.
Time passed, and I had to return the keyboard as my extensive research did not help me resolve the issues I was having. It took Corsair a week to respond to my message. During this time their product was unusable. This was my first interaction with Corsair and it was my first time purchasing one of their products. I felt abandoned in my attempt to love their product.
The slow response time from Corsair (I never even received a confirmation saying they received my message) for issues with their top-of-the-line keyboard pushed me to pursue other brands. Had their customer service been more responsive or informative, I might have kept the K100.
Promise and Delivery
When it comes to the topic of “promise and delivery,” there are two sides to know about — “over promising and under delivering,” and “under promising and over delivering.” As you’ll see, one of these is much better than the other.
Over Promising and Under Delivering
Nothing makes you feel more bitter than buying something that doesn’t meet the marketing hype. The video game Battlefield 2042 is a prime example of this.
In the advertisements, game developer DICE and publisher EA showed buildings and walls being destroyed. These have been commonplace in Battlefield games for a decade. When Battlefield 2042 came out, players were unable to destroy buildings or walls. Battlefield took out key elements that separated it from another popular first-person shooter franchise, Call of Duty.
They over-promised so much that within a month of release, their brand new game was only $30, and much of their player base had returned to playing prior Battlefields.
Under Promising and Over Delivering
Conversely, the feeling of buying a product or service that goes beyond your expectations can turn you into a repeat customer. My SkullCandy Crusher Evo headphones are a good example of under-promising on marketing and over delivering on a good product.
These Bluetooth headphones offer a control for the amount of bass you receive, provide fairly good sound quality, are made of extremely soft materials, have an advertised 40-hour battery life, and pair with a well-mapped-out app that allows you to fully customize your listening experience.
The battery life is where they under promise and over deliver. I purchased these headphones in November, and with fairly consistent use, I have only needed to charge them twice during this time period. I use them for hours each day. To be able to do so without worrying about the battery life is fantastic.
Next time I’m in the market for headphones or have a friend asking for a recommendation, which company do you think I’ll recommend?
Make Your Brand More Personal
What’s worse than being connected to a robotic directory or being connected to someone that ignores what you’ve said and continues with the “standard questions”?
Either one can make the customer feel disconnected from your brand. Including a personal approach in your business and marketing practices ensures your customer feels listened to and appreciated. An appreciated customer feels more comfortable with reaching out with questions and concerns.
Think about the interactions you’ve had with other companies. Which ones have left you feeling like you should have gone somewhere else?
Consistency provides numerous benefits for your business. It establishes a level of professionalism with consumers and other businesses while establishing consumer trust.
By being consistent with your products or services, you will build a reputation of being reliable. This reliable reputation leads to consumer retention. Consumers are able to see others’ experiences, have a similar experience, and then spread the good word of your company to their friends and family.
A consistent method of conducting business also makes it easy to market to your target audience what they can expect when dealing with your company.
Engage on Social Media
Engaging with consumers on social media is a sure way to gain their trust and their confidence. For many Millennials and Gen Z’ers, a company’s social media account is the first contact that they will have with that company. If their interaction is bad, they’ll go elsewhere while assuming that company doesn’t want their business.
In addition, many people reach out on social media when they encounter an issue with a product or service. If the social media manager doesn’t engage properly with the consumer, they risk losing that consumer for good.
Picture a company’s social media manager playing ring-around with a customer. If the customer’s original message says, “I’ve tried calling and I’ve tried emailing,” your social media manager should not tell this customer to try calling or emailing again. At this point, social media is the company’s final chance to maintain trust with the customer.
Remember, You’re A Consumer Too
We’re all consumers. We know how we want to be treated when contacting a company and the standards we expect when seeing advertisements. For your company to gain consumer trust, you need to market your brand as if you are the consumer.
One of the first steps in gaining consumer trust is putting yourself in their shoes. Would you want to deal with your company?
For further inspiration, you should read our article on gaining trust and attracting higher quality leads!