Are you building trust with your customers?

Cybersecurity. Privacy scares. Chatbots. There’s a lot to put people off a brand these days. So how do you build a trusting relationship with your customers? We look at five important ways to make trust work for your business.

26 February 2019

When you’re running a business, charity, or any kind of organisation, trust is hard to gain and all too easy to lose. But gaining trust is an investment that pays back well, attracting better and more motivated people to work with you, creating a loyal and evangelising client base, and generating general goodwill towards your brand.

We’ve outlined a few ways that you can build trust into your business.

5. Investing in data security—and letting people know it

Consumer trust in businesses has fallen. But did you know that people’’s main concern is around data? A PwC survey found that 85% named cybersecurity and privacy risks as their main worry. Investing in secure ways to handle data and payments is just the start. To make it worthwhile, it's good to let your customers know what you’re doing, and how it protects them. Open, honest and transparent.

4. ‘Sell’ the value of trust internally

To make trust a priority, you need to make sure your organisation understands its value. According to the financial Reporting Council, intangible assets, such as intellectual property, customer base and brand now account for over 80% of corporate value, compared to under 20% 40 years ago. It’s becoming more important to the bottom line, so there's a bigger opporunity for those who get brand trust right to be successful.

3. Find your purpose and put it at the heart of your activity

Do you know what your company’s purpose is? Locating purpose helps you look beyond the spreadsheets and lets everyone know what the point of coming to work is. Research by Grant Thornton found that 43% of high growth businesses believe that investing in their purpose helped them to the next level of growth. It encourages bolder decisions and brings everyone closer to the company’s strategy.

2. Make it authentic

Outdoor brand Patagonia is already legendary for its investment in environmental preservation. But in December 2018, they changed the company’s mission statement because the founders felt it just wasn’t urgent enough. Their new mission: ‘Patagonia is in business to save our home planet.’ It’s a clear call to arms, and says everything you need to know about how they think and feel.

Such authenticity is crucial in building trust, but people have to believe in the sincerity of your message to make it work. This is what separates your purpose from your campaigns. As Max Ottignon of Ragged Edge studio wrote in Creative Review: “If it’s conceived as a communications campaign, it isn’t a purpose in any meaningful sense. And people are likely to see right through it.”

1. Make it easy to find out you’re human.

The world is more interconnected than ever and it’s easy to forget that, at the end of all these technological nodes and interfaces, there’s a person. But building trust is a human-to-human activity, so why not let the customers find your real voice?

Think about Apple’s landmark stores, or Tesla’s global presence at events and shows. These companies interact as a friend or colleague, ask for your opinions personally, and listen to you. They create what’s called ‘activations’: authentic events where they are there in person, to meet and talk with naturally. They don’t sell hard or push marketing strategy in your face. It’s subtle, but natural, and that’s the secret of trust.

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