Expensive marketing and advertising campaigns only provide a return on investment when customers make a purchase. More importantly, advertising aims for conversions that produce long-term loyalty rather than a one-time purchase.
That only works when customers are confident in the company selling them a product or service. But to be accurate or truthful in its marketing, according to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer report. What’s more alarming is that 81% of shoppers say that trust impacts their buying decisions, and only one-third say they trust the brands they buy from.
If customers buy from brands they don’t trust, why does customer confidence matter?
Because when someone feels they can fully trust a brand they will choose that product or service above any other and will be more likely to defend a brand against negative reviews. In a competitive marketplace, companies need every ally they can get, and it starts with trust.
Overview: What is customer confidence?
Customer confidence is the foundation of lasting sales relationships. It supports customer retention strategies when customers know they can count on your business to deliver quality products or services in a timely manner.
10 ways to build customer confidence and trust
Businesses that know how to increase consumer confidence are rewarded with long-lasting customer loyalty that drives repeat sales. Brands are making bigger promises about the product experience, the customer experience, and its social impact. But buyers want proof that companies are following through.
It’s not enough to tell customers you’ll deliver. Demonstrating your commitment to building trust starts with these 10 strategies.
1. Anticipate customer needs
How do you build customer trust? Thinking two steps ahead of the customer is a powerful way to build customer confidence. Anticipating a customer's product or service needs before they arise makes shoppers feel understood and taken care of.
Customer service software tracks buying habits and preferences. Businesses can then send reminders to reorder a product on a timetable that matches their habits.
2. Be transparent about product knowledge
There’s a degree of "faking it until you make it" that comes with learning a new job, service, or product. However, recognize the clear distinction between summoning self-confidence and providing inaccurate information to customers.
Here’s how you and your employees can be poised without being misleading.
- Don’t be afraid to say, "I don’t know."
- Immediately follow up "I don’t know" with "Let me find out for you."
- Offer a timeframe for follow-up. "I’ll get back to you by noon."
- Communicate when it takes longer than expected to gather information. For example, “When we spoke, I promised to have an answer by noon. The manufacturer is working on getting back to me, and I wanted you to know I haven’t forgotten about you.”
- Follow through by providing details.
3. Own your mistakes
The wrong product is sent. The customer is billed incorrectly. A shipment doesn’t contain the ordered quantity.
Any employee, even hardworking, high-performing staff members can make an error. It’s the actions you take after the mistake that has the most impact on customer confidence and trust.
Most people can accept a blunder when it's acknowledged, and a reasonable solution is offered. A genuine apology and solution that corrects the misstep is a central component of customer communication.
4. Be clear
Increasingly, customers want to know where and how the products they purchase are being made. Be transparent. It's an important strategy to instill confidence.
Try these tactics to offer a behind-the-scenes look into your business.
- Invite customers for a tour.
- Share videos that show employees working on a process.
- Post "behind the scenes" images to social media that make customers feel connected to the production process.
5. Share customer experiences
Think testimonials don't matter?
Think again. More than 85% of shoppers search for online reviews of local businesses, according to a 2020 survey by . Reach out to long-standing customers to request a statement, and invite customers to leave a review after a purchase.
It’s human nature to trust a friend, peer, or person with similar interests more than a company’s sales pitch. Ask satisfied clients for testimonials about their customer experience that you can post on all your channels.
6. Make the buying experience easy
No one has time to search clunky websites. The harder it is to find technical information, product details, or purchasing information, the more frustrating the process becomes. According to a , 77% of B2B buyers lack confidence in a company because finding information was too difficult.
Use these tips to give customers a reason to stay on your site rather than shop elsewhere.
- Ask for website usability feedback.
- Have a person available to answer questions.
- Listen to a customer’s pain points in the buying process, and analyze the feedback for opportunities to streamline your information flow.
7. Be empathetic
When customers have a problem, the experience can do major damage to brand loyalty, . Showing empathy in customer service can help shoppers overcome disappointment in a purchase.
Offering an apology is only effective when it’s executed well. Help workers prepare to offer an olive branch with these strategies.
- Listen to the customer’s concern.
- Offer a sincere apology and an offer to correct the mistake.
- Create a process to deal with angry customers and how to escalate problems for resolution.
- Leave the customer feeling they got a better deal than they started with, whether it’s a refund or a replacement.
8. Teach rather than sell
The days of the hard sell are over. A 2017 study revealed that to buy when they are given educational content rather than sales material. When customers feel a brand is committed to helping them better understand something rather than just asking them to open their wallets, it builds confidence.
9. Add a personal touch
Small businesses can leverage the power of the personal touch to foster customer confidence. Taking the time to make individual phone calls to check in and sending handwritten notes at birthdays, holidays, or milestones offers an invaluable human connection.
10. Follow through on promises
Companies that make good on promises stand out from competitors by honoring their word.
Dove, a Unilever company, is an example of a business that has delivered on promises made in a marketing campaign. Their Dove Men + Care campaign celebrates dads. The company lives the philosophy by .
An integral part of doing business
Cultivating customer trust and confidence is as important as growing revenues and minimizing expenses. Overlooking the value of customer relationships can hurt sales and ruin relationships. Put the customer first and treat them well in every step of the transaction, and you'll set your business up for long-term success.