Every brand custodian, be it a brand manager, a consultant or an entrepreneur, will come across this question: “how can I build the best customer experience for my consumer?” First of all you have to make sure that every touchpoint your consumer has with your product or service is aligned with the brand promise and makes him feel important and satisfied. It’s about offering him sugar, spice and everything nice. Yet, is that enough? Here at 90, we believe trust is the chemical X for great customer experience.
According to the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer, search engines continue to be the most trusted media source for general news and information. Edelman started this annual trust and credibility survey in 2000 and since then they’ve recorded the transformation of the media landscape. Search engines (63%) and traditional media (58%) remain the two most trusted sources for the fifth consecutive year, search engines surpassing traditional media for the first time in 2015.
Taking these numbers into consideration, now more than ever it is vital to think about what people find on Google concerning your brand and to understand how their discoveries influence your business. If you are still doubting, here are some more numbers from other studies:
- 91% of customers judge a brand based on trust.
- 79% of customers trust product reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
- 60% of customers are likely to recommend a company they trust to people they know.
- 68% of customers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more.
All these percentages show the importance of trust in the experience a brand creates for its customers. Plus, if there’s no question search engines are trusted, then the real question here is how to build a trusted reputation online.
Stand and Deliver
It’s not enough to build a relevant story around your brand, you have to also take into consideration how to deliver the story in order to convey trust. Some of the most important drivers of brand trust are:
- consistency, deliver the same quality across all your services and offerings. Customers should be exposed to the same experience no matter the touchpoint.
- engagement, start and maintain a dialog with your customers. Listen to your audience’s needs, comments and tweets.
- transparency, be open and sincere with your customers, it will help forming relationships. Respond truthfully to all their reviews, because one of the best indicator of trust is the feedback your customers give you through online reviews.
We are past the times when “any publicity was good publicity”. Nowadays, a few negative reviews will scare away potential customers. It was proven that 4 out of 5 people will hesitate to purchase from a business that has negative online reviews. And 3 out of 5 people need to read only 6 reviews or less before deciding if they trust or not a business enough to make a purchase. If you want to read more about the importance of online reviews and the motivations behind writing reviews, read our blog post on the science behind online reviews.
Zero Moment of Truth
Five years ago, Google coined the term “zero moment of truth” to describe how the internet changed the customer journey: before buying any product or service, people search for information online, and what they find at that stage will influence the purchase decision.
A brand, besides identifying the ZMOT of their audience, should try to build trust starting with that key moment. This won’t be as difficult as you might think. A few days ago Google announced that users, when searching for the best places to eat and drink, will be able to see on the first results page reviews from top critics and best-of lists from respected publishers. This proves how important trusted reviews can be for the ZMOT and how in a matter of seconds, a prospect can decide if you are to be trusted or not.