Why Focus on Customer Trust and Loyalty?
Customer trust is crucial to running a successful business. Building trust ensures repeat business. A loyal customer base also encourages customers to spend more and advocate for trusted brands, as shown in the graphic below. Brand advocacy amplifies positive messages and spreads the word about products and companies. Word of Mouth can make or break a brand. Your product is not what you say it is, but what they say it is. In our fast-paced and digital world, the best way to spread awareness for your brand is securing influence through Word of Mouth. In sum, having customer trust enables your business to spread influence.
The Current State of Customer Trust
Customer trust and loyalty are vital to growing a business, yet they still aren’t the norm. According to Salesforce’s Trends in Customer Trust Report, only 54% of customers believe that companies have their best interests in mind. This lack of trust demonstrates that brand advocacy isn’t reaching its full potential. Your own business could be missing out on a valuable marketing opportunity by not securing customer trust and loyalty.
How Does Building Community Build Trust?
Salesforce reports that 84% of customers think that being treated like a person rather than a number is important to winning their business. How can you get better at treating people like people? The answer is building relationships through building community. Local programs and events build relationships with the common thread of your brand. These relationships ensure that customers are loyal to your company. Without these relationships, your customers could jump ship and give their business to brands who are creating better relationships with their customers. The most loyal customers are also the most energized marketers. Engaging with top customers and directing their passion towards growing a community of users is the most authentic way to build trust in a user community.
Customer Communities as Customer Support
A strong customer community can be used for answering questions that new customers may have about a product. There are many ways to answer these questions, such as chatbots or FAQ pages. However, these automated responses do not build trust, while in-person responses ensure increased trust and brand loyalty. The answers and solutions that user communities can provide are in-depth and have a personal tone. FAQs can become static and incomplete as products change, making customer communities an incredibly useful tool for tailoring the perfect response to a customer’s question. There are so many different use cases for a community. Customer Success Communities are just one. Check out the CMX SPACE Model to see how other companies and brands are using their communities to drive business value.
The New Generation as Future Employees
Gen Z and millennial customers are looking for companies that they can trust. Not only because they are becoming increasingly skeptical about spending their money at untrustworthy companies, but also because they are the future of work. The brightest individuals will be in search of a role at a company that they can trust. According to the Deloitte Millennial Survey, “opinions about business’ motivations and ethics, which had trended up the past two years, retreated dramatically this year, as did their sense of loyalty.” Younger generations are looking for companies that consider providing value for the greater society before focusing on their own profit-based agenda.
If companies want to gain the trust of their customer base, they need to begin to do so authentically. Consumers are beginning to see through the veil of traditional marketing schemes and are craving a new way to advocate from brands that provide value for them.
What you can do right now:
- Create a forum for customers to speak to each other and answer each other’s questions about a product or service.
- Taking the corporation out of the conversation is the first step in giving your customers the opportunity to speak candidly, and genuinely connect with your brand.
- Ask your customers what they want from you. And actively listen to their feedback and ideas. Listening to the feedback of your community and then showing them that you are actually taking that feedback and making changes, will show them that their voice matters.
- Encourage brand advocacy by encouraging customers to get involved with sharing and providing feedback about share brand-related information. What new products are you releasing? What are you doing as a company to reduce your environmental impact? Reach out to your most active customers and offer them the opportunity to be more involved.
- Have genuine initiatives toward social responsibility. Do what you can as a company to make the world better through activism– environmental, social, etc. Your customers will notice.
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