It seems like today’s consumers thrive on criticism and skepticism. In fact, a study by Edelman found that 44% of the general population and 32% of informed consumers state that they do not trust businesses to tell the truth.
Unfortunately, consumers have lots of valid reasons to distrust businesses and marketers. Over the past few weeks, several documentaries regarding the infamous Fyre Festival scam have been released, highlighting the exact reasons why consumers should remain skeptical when a company offers some lofty claims and promises. Although the Fyre Festival situation was certainly (or at least hopefully) an anomaly, it will have repercussions on consumers for years to come.
Building trust with your customers is absolutely without a doubt necessary for establishing a successful business. However, in this day and age, establishing this with consumers is obviously harder than ever. So how can your company ensure that customers trust your business enough to buy?
1. Encourage Honesty
reviews are a huge part of the conversion process and can easily increase or
decrease the level of trust that a customer has in your business. According to BrightLocal’s
consumer review survey, the average
consumer reads at least ten reviews before they feel they can trust a business
enough to buy from them. Furthermore, 91% of customers report that they trust a
public review just as much as they do personal recommendations from a friend.
Most businesses understand that stellar reviews can obviously help their brand reputation, and they are more than happy to display 5-star feedback on their website. However, if you are only showing the best of the stellar reviews, it can actually breed distrust from customers, too. Today’s consumers understand that shady businesses will pay for good reviews or post fake ones to improve their overall rating. If a customer sees only glowing feedback about a business, they may start to question the validity of the ratings.
Although it may seem counterintuitive, it is best to display positive, negative, and mediocre reviews and resist deleting bad ones or picking and choosing your review features. You should also aim to collect thorough feedback, rather than just basic star ratings so customers can have more information about what kind of experience to expect. For instance, when
new customers with good context to familiarize themselves with the business,
which can have a strong influence over their decision to convert.
Following a more transparent approach to customer reviews establishes your brand’s commitment to honesty. Don’t worry if this means that your business’s overall star rating decreases – BrightLocal’s report also found that 79% of consumers would still purchase from a company that had less than a 5-star rating.
2. Create Reliable Thought Leadership Content
The greatest way to build trust with an audience has always been through exceptional content. Establishing a content brand that focuses on thought leadership and information backed with trustworthy data will show that your company really knows what it is talking about. Refer to
You may also want to have certain leaders within your business invest in some personal branding to increase the thought leadership value of the marketing content. If your head of marketing has been in the industry for many years, chances are that he or she has lots of experience and insight. Encourage them to share their opinions on the company’s blog, social media, or other outlets like podcasts and external blogs that will help to establish their own name as a reliable source.
3. Focus on Consistency
Although building trust with your audience may require some new approaches and changes, it is critical that every single strategy and piece of content your team tries matches up to the business’s overall message. Studies have found that when brands are inconsistent with their messaging and voice, it causes customers to become confused and can lead to distrust.
Obviously, this is the opposite desired effect of making active changes to improve your business’s reputation. Therefore, your marketing team needs to make sure that your brand’s voice is clearly defined and that every single piece of content supports this. It may be best to hold a meeting with your entire marketing department to go over the goals and mission of the business and clearly describe the type of persona that matches up to the brand.
4. Make Your Brand More Human
One of the most common reasons why a customer will begin to distrust a business (particularly when shopping online) is when they are unable to get in touch with a “person” behind the brand. When customers are unable to get a hold of someone in the business, it can cause them to question its credibility. Simply having an FAQ page full of general information is simply not enough, and failing to list contact information on your page is a huge red flag that can send customers running.
Although using chatbots can be a great tool for instant assistance, most customers are still going to prefer human interaction. It’s best to include live chat options during business hours that will quickly connect customers to a real person. You should also clearly display contact information on your website and provide phone numbers and email addresses.
And finally, make sure that your team is super active on social media by responding to customer inquiries and comments on these platforms as well. Many companies have been able to use social media as a fantastic tool to answer customer inquiries while presenting a very relatable (and public) brand voice. Here’s a great example from Skyscanner:
Getting customers to trust your brand may be a long-term process; you can’t just build this overnight. But, clearly, it is absolutely essential for long-term success. Be sure that whatever approach you choose to follow that your intentions are genuine and authentic.
You shouldn’t trick a customer into trust, and chances are that consumers will be able to tell if something isn’t lining up.
Keep your focus on creating the best experiences for your customers and create a message that communicates your business’s mission for a truly trustworthy reputation.
Manish Dudharejia is the President and Founder of E2M Solutions Inc, a San Diego Based Digital Agency that specializes in Website Design & Development and eCommerce SEO. With over 10 years of experience in the Technology and Digital Marketing industry, Manish is passionate about helping online businesses to take their branding to the next level.