• Building Brand Trust

White Paper: Building Brand Trust Online

At the heart of your business is a difficult question: Do your customers trust you?

Trust is something that requires hard work and time to build and once easily broken is near impossible to mend. Companies spend billions of dollars every year trying to acquire new customers, while the cost of retaining existing ones is significantly lower. Additionally, according to research done by Nielsen Global Trust[1], 83% of consumers trust recommendations made by friends and family. This means establishing and maintaining trust with your existing customer base is critical in successful business development.

With the lack of physical presence and contact, being able to earn this trust online is an uphill battle and will require dedication to earn. We’ve outlined a few guidelines below that can help streamline this process.

1.

Quality Customer Service

Customer ServiceAccording to a NM Incite Study[2], 71% of customers who have a positive experience with customer service are more likely to recommend the brand to other people. If a customer has issues with one of your products or services you need to try and resolve it immediately.

While the customer isn’t always right, you should always follow the rules of politeness. Don’t engage in drawn out arguments and storms of expletives. Your responses should be prompt and concise without provoking unnecessary fights. In the end, its usually worth taking a small revenue loss in exchange for a happy (or at the very least, neutral) customer. Be sure to follow up with customers about their satisfaction when a service is being offered.

Tip: You can use videos that answer your most commonly asked questions. Using video helps build trust by allowing potential customers to actually meet you.

2.

Social Media Interaction

Social Media InteractionSocial Media enables direct interaction between customers and your brand. When used effectively, this can lead to a community of faithful followers who help spread the word about your company and its products. You can help build your base by doing the following:

The content you create should be informative and authoritative. Make sure to include lots of research and quote extensively so as to build credibility and trust. People are more trusting of brands that have been accredited by reputable bodies. The content you share on social media should enable a customer to easily make a decision about your brand.

Personalize Your Messages

Customers want to connect and be part of your brand. You can build on this by having personalized messages from the company owners. Social media messages can be tailored to evoke emotions among their customer base.

Up To Date Viral Stories

While promoting your brand, you should be knowledgeable about new viral stories in your audience. Monitoring popular hashtags inside your niche can help you share and piggyback on upcoming news tailored to your customer base.

Customer Complaints

Social media is a great tool to handle customer complaints as it has the advantage of one on one conversation. Keep in mind, you are now in the public eye and your responses are more important than ever. Be polite, be concise, and above all else don’t get into a public argument. How you handle yourself today will be seen by potential customers of tomorrow.

3.

Public Relations & Consumer Engagement

Public RelationsIn the age of Internet, being in the perpetual public eye requires a constant awareness of the actions not only your company makes but you and your individual employees as well. Take a moment to go over our list of methods to ensure positive public relations and engagement with your customer base.

Respond Quickly

This does not mean that you have all the answers to every question raised immediately, but you can acknowledge them first. Try not to leave questions unanswered or lingering for too long and this will show you care about their concerns.

Acknowledge Mistakes

When a mistake has been committed by your company, don’t pass the blame. Offer an apology and reassure the issue is being evaluated and will be fixed. This gives a human touch to your company and helps prevent customer dissatisfaction.

Personalized Comments

When customers post a negative review or comment and you respond with an automated reply, it shows a lack of caring and value for your customers input. Have personalized responses that acknowledge the issue and steps that have been taken to resolve it. Make sure to include the customer’s name in the response.

Don’t Take It Personally

Do not response to customer issues in a negative tone no matter what the customer has commented. Most likely the customer is frustrated by the situation they are in and are seeking your assistance to help resolve their issues.

Monitor Your Brand

It is critical that you take note of what customers are saying about your brand. Monitoring Social Media mentions of your brand can help prevent an issue from escalating out of your control. Make sure to do follow ups on any inquiries from potential customers discussing your company.

4.

Be Honest; Be Trustworthy

Be very straightforward about your product or service. There should be no hidden costs or surprises for your customers to find later. Be upfront about what your service can and cannot do, if you promise the moon and produce a rock, you will strain customer relationship. This information should be easy to find from your customers, and it should include clear policies you have in place for canceled or refunded orders.

Tip: Make sure to prominently display testimonials from customers, bloggers in your industry, and other companies that have positively reviewed your product or service on your website.

5.

Building a User Friendly Website

User Friendly Websites

Nothing turns off a customer as quickly as going to a company’s website and finding nothing but broken design elements, non functioning scripts, and dead end links. Your website should be easy to navigate and pleasant on the eyes and ears (Never, never use auto playing video or music!). Use colors that represent your brand and the mood of what you are promoting. Today’s websites should have a flexible layout that is mobile friendly. Keep your content updated frequently, easy to read, and relevant to your industry.

Unless you’re http://lingscars.com/ where none of the rules mentioned above apply in any form…

Tip: Take time to revise old content with updated information. This not only improves your SEO but the consumer experience on your website.

In Conclusion..

With the introduction of Social Media, brands are more connected to the public than ever before with real time engagement. Using this to your advantage insures that issues are resolved immediately and with good public relations. Customers should feel like they have access to all levels of the company management if needed. Ignoring these factors mentioned above will quickly find you far behind your competition. The responses you give a customer when they raise a complaint or ask a question is critical. Remember, the entire world is watching how you handle your business, now its time for you to take advantage.

About the Author:

Trained in both the white and black arts of SEO and Marketing, with 8 years of hands on experience as a Search Engine and Marketing Optimization consultant and service provider. Long-term serving moderator on BlackHatWorld.com under the pseudonym 'GoldenGlovez'.

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