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Customer Trust is Paramount

It’s often illuminating to go back to the basics for a moment. So: Why is customer trust such an essential factor across B2C industries? Why is it important to build trust with customers?

If you look up the definition of the word “trust” in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, you’ll read: “firm belief in the character, strength, or truth of someone or something.”

Going by that meaning, an effective customer trust definition is a firm strong belief, on the part of your customers, that your brand is honest, reliable, sturdy, and conscientious.

Cultivating this trust is important because when customers trust you, they will choose you. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, 81% of customers factor in trust as a crucial variable when making purchase decisions. The more they trust a brand, the more likely a customer is to do business with it.

However, customers are also skeptical by nature. The same study only identifies 34% of customers as trusting. In a different yet related research, 42% of customers say they don’t trust brands, and 70% say they are cynical of their advertising messages. In other words, customer trust in business has to be earned.

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Customer Trust Drives Customer Loyalty

In commerce as in life, trust begets customer loyalty. People who trust a brand tend to display behaviors that demonstrate customer loyalty. In any economic sector, loyal customers are extremely valuable.

In the US, 8 out of 10 customers (82%) say they will likely remain to do business with a brand they trust, even if another brand comes along and becomes a trend. On a global scale, 75% of international respondents will do a similar thing.

Loyal customers are a massive source of repeat revenue. Customer retention statistics show that more than half of a company’s business (65%) comes from existing customers. Also, 43% of customers are very willing to spend more money on brands they are loyal to.

In addition, a large majority of loyal customers (76% globally, 78% in the US) are very inclined to become a brand’s advocates and ambassadors. They will immediately recommend a trusted brand’s products and services to their family members, friends, and just about anyone who asks.

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When customers trust you, they will stay loyal to you. This is why building customer trust should be at the forefront of all companies’ minds.

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good quality products is the best way to earn consumer trust

1. Good quality products or services

73% of customers in the US say they trust a brand that puts a premium on the quality of their products and services. This highlights a constant, perpetual need for brands to make sure they deliver real value to their stakeholders.

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2. Positive ratings and reviews

63% of American buyers are likely to trust brands with positive recommendations, reviews, and recognition from customers. According to BrightLocal, positive reviews encourage 91% of customers to use a business, whereas 82% are put off by negative reviews.

positive customer treatment for consumer trust

3. Positive treatment of customers

In the US, 56% of customers say they trust a brand that treats them positively. It’s crucial in building customer trust to treat every customer like a VIP at every point of their journey.

Brands need to remember that positive treatment equates to delightful customer experiences. “Customers love when a brand is treating them right—and they certainly never forget it when a brand treats them wrong,” says Mark Simpson, CEO of marketing cloud Acoustic.

excellent customer service reflects excellent customer trust

4. Excellent customer service

35% of American customers rate customer service as a major trust factor. The customer service your company provides bears significant weight on customer trust and loyalty. According to HubSpot, 93% of customers repeat their purchases with brands that provide them with excellent customer service.

customers want brands to treat their employees well

6. Positive treatment of employees

22% of customers now look into employee treatment as a measure of customer trust. According to a special brand trust report by Edelman, 90% of customers want brands to exert more effort into securing the health and financial security of their workers during the pandemic, even if it hurts their revenue in the short term.

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7. Purposeful personalization

In addition to all major drivers of trust mentioned above, the personalization of products and services emerges as a crucial factor in customer trust. 88% of marketers say that modern customers expect personalization from brands and it is now a vital enhancer of customer relationships. However, excessive personalization can come across as intrusive and scary. Purposeful personalization doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all approach but according to Microsoft, it can be delivered through alignment with customers’ values, individuality, high-quality products and services, and good value.

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The COVID Impact

The survey also found that these three major factors now impact consumer trust:

Value

Availability

Convenience

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted millions of consumers all over the world and ushered us into a new reality. In a survey on the pandemic’s impact to brand trust, 65% of customers revealed that a brand’s response during a crisis will bear significantly on their trust. Customer trust in business is paramount. As these disruptive times are changing the barometers of customer trust, brands need to do more to cultivate their customers’ trust if they are to survive the pandemic and thrive as the world moves forward.

Working on improving the basics of customer trust will help your brand improve its trust scores among customers. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has reconfigured many realities and shifted customer expectations. As McKinsey discovered, 75% of US customers have switched brands amidst the COVID-19 crisis.

Brands are encouraged to build on these three factors as well. Better visibility and optimized supply chain processes are needed to ensure availability. Companies must also enhance capabilities that add convenience to their customers. For example, secure contactless payments, e-commerce, and seamless mobile ordering.

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In these disruptive and uncertain times, brand authenticity is more critical than ever. According to a survey, 86% of customers say authenticity is crucial when choosing brands they like and support. Customers are wise to techniques like false reviews on forums and paid-for likes on social media platforms.

Brands must take heed. Brand authenticity relates to consumer trust. But what makes a brand authentic? Experts urge brands to build on the following drivers of brand authenticity if they are to earn their customers’ trust:

honest brands tell the truth about products and retain more customers

1. Honesty

Honesty is when brands tell the truth about products and services. It’s about truthful advertising and messaging devoid of gimmicks and hidden agendas. Customers expect brands to own up to their mistakes and respond to questions and negative comments with the truth.

the impact of brand transparency on customer trust is huge

2. Transparency

While honesty is about sharing what brands perceived to be the truth, transparency is all about making the truth accessible and known to internal and external stakeholders. This can range from disclosures of business goals, values, as well as business-sensitive data such as pricing, financial reports, and more. The impact of brand transparency on customer trust is enormous. For instance, 73% of customers say they are willing to give their data if brands are transparent.

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3. Relatability

Relatability is difficult to measure but it matters when building trust. People tend to constantly look for connections that relate them to a particular person, or in this context, a brand. 70% of consumers say they if their beliefs are aligned and in sync with a certain brand, they are very likely to do business with that brand even if it means paying an added premium of 35%.

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4. Circularity

Customers are becoming more environmentally aware and this consciousness is empowering them to choose brands that value sustainability and circularity. They will trust a brand that implements measures to reduce resource consumption as well as recycling and reusing them. In a research on circular economy, 83% of customers believe their purchasing decisions can have a positive effect on resolving global environmental challenges. The same study found that 59% look at a product’s environmental impact