Are consumers losing trust in brands?
Updated: Sep 27, 2019
"Trust is like the air we breathe -- when it's present, nobody really notices. When it's absent, everyone notices." -- Warren Buffett
In 2017, trust in U.S.-based companies dropped five points, down to 50 percent, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer. As companies struggle with customer satisfaction and loyalty, changes need to take place in order to restore faith within consumers.This will take time, consistency, and perseverance. With social media acting as a direct communication source to brands, it’s important to handle each customer issue with care and integrity.
With that being said, brands build trust on a daily basis with customers by routine interactions, consistently delivering on their promises, and/or going above and beyond to solve customers issues. In addition, the way you interact with your customers should be taken into consideration. Which means establishing a company culture in which all employees understand that their own self-interest and the interests of the organization are aligned with -- rather than unrelated to -- the interests of their customers, according to Gallup.com.
The question still stands, how do you gain and maintain trust from your customers?
1. In addition to responding to your happy customers, respond to your unhappy customers.
It’s easy to ignore rude and nasty comments, however this will only harm your reputation and create a perception of lack of integrity. Don’t avoid the problem, own it and approach it with an open mind and a genuine concern for the customer.
2. Reply within 24 hours
Often times, we as consumers want more. So responding and answering comments may not be good enough. It’s important to respond within 24 hours and create a sense of urgency to let the customer know that they matter and they’re not just another dollar. Matter of fact, create a customer service system where you solely focus on customer service. "If you're taking a proactive approach, you're already halfway there. The key to staying on top of customer reviews is to actively seek them out and have a strategy and process in place ahead of time. Like many crucial business operations, preparation and planning go a long way," said Peter Muhlmann, founder and CEO of Trustpilot.
3. Implement a two-way channel communication
It’s important to have an online platform where you and your customer can communicate. Twitter is a good example for utilizing a two-way channel. Consumers are able to express their concerns or satisfaction for a brand and receive a reply in the same thread. Facebook messenger is another example that allows a brand to communicate directly to the consumer.
4. Address issues online
If you decide to have open communication via online platforms, you must approach it like they are just as important as private emails or phone calls. One bad review or comment can harm your reputation, so you must ensure that you address it quickly and publicly. You must show that your brand is responding from a place of empathy, genuinely, and be able to admit fault and issue an apology.
We all make mistakes, and if your brand has made a mistake, it’s important to take responsibility and come up with a solution. You want to make your customers feel as though they’re in a partnership and not another Google analytic.
Having too much pride and not admitting to faults will turn consumers away.