Brands build trust so that there is little or no gap between what your brand promises and what it delivers. Building trust also builds brands themselves.
You’re dealing with real, live people after all, and customers want to feel that real, caring people are behind the brands that they choose.
It is easy to receive instant gratification from the barista making your favorite coffee-based beverage and to immediately reciprocate by expressing appreciation for him or her with a smile, thank you and gratuity. And rewarding the brand by going back again the next day. And the next.
Fast-food establishments also have the same ability to ensure customers are served accurately and quickly every time in order to maintain their competitive edge and brand loyalty. After all, it just wouldn’t be right for someone ordering a product called a Happy Meal to leave disgruntled.
It is trickier for brands when there may not be personal interaction with a staff person, just an online order and then a doorstep delivery. However, companies can still build trust by following up their impeccable customer service and convenience with being available through a variety of means, just in case something does go wrong: email, “contact us” form on the website, phone number, chatbot, etc., so that customers don’t have to spend much time searching for help when they’re already disappointed in your company.
Here are some practices all brands can take into consideration to build trust and brand value:
You be you: Being authentic in your messaging to correspond with how your brand is typically portrayed is important. If your company has built a reputation based on being compassionate, suddenly unleashing the fury with atypical sarcastic messaging is not on-brand. It will alienate your customer, and you won’t attract new ones. Have you ever read a job description so full of industry jargon and buzzwords that someone in your family would say, “What does this mean? What do you actually…do?” Save the jargon for internal meetings — if then — and communicate with your customers in a more genuine fashion. Customers want to see actual employees in your branding being portrayed as readily accessible and not have to play a game of hide & seek to find you when they have a question, concern or compliment. Personal connections do matter.
Prove it. These days, it is as easy to see what others think of a company as what the company itself is touting. You can help your own cause by offering robust testimonials, case studies, reviews, etc. Just like job seekers would not list references that would destroy their prospects, you would not offer lukewarm testimonials on your website. Testimonials that are genuine, detailed and explain why your company was chosen above others will contribute to increasing your company value. Show how you’re accountable to the brand in the eyes of the customer and that your company is being portrayed accurately.
Make your “About Us” about them. If prospects are not sure if you’re the company they’re looking for, they’ll read the About Us section on your website to see if they’re correct and if their perception matches reality. In addition to telling them what you’re about (the leading xxx company), tell them why you are. How do you treat your staff? How do you give back to the community? What are your company values? Be true to your company voice while also knowing what the customers really want to know. And then tell them.
Encourage feedback. Communication is a two-way street. Ask customers what they think instead of assuming what they think. Ask open-ended questions to learn more about why their favorites are their favorites and what they would change about your products and services if given the option. As a courtesy to your customers, once you have the feedback, follow through and announce when a change has been implemented and if it is due to customer demand. How often have you heard statements like “back by popular demand…” and “you asked, and we listened…” in promotions? These may not be original statements, but they show customers their brands listen to them and then respond to them.
Trust builds brands and builds value. Start by treating your employees well, and their appreciation, enthusiasm and brand advocacy will transfer in a positive fashion to the customers you all serve.