Trust. Brand confidence in 2018.
As a business, a customer’s trust is one of the hardest things to gain and the easiest to lose. In 2018, we’re constantly bombarded with emails in our inbox, images on our screens and paper through our doors – all for the latest and greatest product that is going to change your life. Who can we trust? How do we choose?
More than ever, consumers are feeling betrayed. Even the big companies are failing at this. First it was misplaced adverts on YouTube. Then leaked account details with AshleyMadison. More recently, Facebook has lost a lot of online followers because it’s users (understandably), just don’t trust what they are doing with our data.
Trust has always been at the forefront of business. In today’s world, sites like Trustpilot, Glassdoor and Tripadvisor are letting the public review your business unfiltered. Today’s customers can make their comments go viral via social media. One bad review can almost instantly be seen by thousands and can cost a company untold amounts in lost revenue. With this in mind, business owners have to be doing everything they can to earn and maintain trusted relationships with their customers.
It’s only right that customers have certain expectations. They expect the work you do/the service you provide to be completed at the best level you can, at the price you agreed. No one wants a substandard job, or an unexpected additional cost. Obviously, sometimes additional cost is unavoidable, it’s then your responsibility to negotiate this with the customer.
You order a drink at a local coffee shop. when it arrived, the price was 5% more than you expected, would you complain? Where is your threshold before you mention it? 10%, 15%? 50%? Arguably worse than this is if it goes unmentioned to the company. You leave and mention it to a friend, a colleague, a family member. This word of mouth could spread and before you know it, everyone knows the story of when they overcharged you 50p on a coffee. How you’re never going there again.
Maybe your story is overheard on a bus. An office manager decides to look into the cost of their weekly catered coffee morning and realises that it would be cheaper to get it elsewhere. Their finance manager leaves a scathing review which gets picked up by a local facebook group. Suddenly, a tirade of abuse directed at the coffee shop forces them to make a statement about their rising costs, looking to justify their higher prices. One user looks into this and finds that recently the shop changed it’s main coffee supplier to a company that was recently involved in a workplace dispute about equal pay for it’s employees. This is not met well and before long, there’s a campaign to boycott the shop and it’s tyrannical, unethical owners!
Not an unlikely series of events. Now, the coffee shop has a bad reputation and a cloud of people, that were likely never even customers, all waiting to chastise it’s business for anything they class as unethical. Could this have been avoided? Of course. Had the coffee shop spoke with it’s customers, mentioned the rise in prices to stick with their current supplier and highlighted the inadequacies of the new supplier, there would likely be a lot less customer resistance when it came to that extra 50p on their morning caffeine.
More trust, more problems?
Some might argue that more trust in your brand can bring it’s own issues. With more trust comes more responsibility. Your business has an obligation to look after it’s reputation. No one wants to be associated with untrustworthiness, especially if they’re dealing with money!
So why would you take on more responsibility if it means more upkeep? Because it’s the right thing to do. When you create a trusting relationship with your customers, they’re more likely to recommend you and that’s organic growth you cannot buy.
With new EU directives, like the GDPR, businesses are also now legally bound to protect their customer’s data. What data is held, where it’s held and for how long. We’ve all taken calls about PPI we’re owed or a Road Traffic Accident that wasn’t our fault. If you could get a hold of the people that sold your number to that company, would you trust them? Would you give them anything else? Personally, I’d like to invoice them for the amount of time I’ve spent on the phone!
The GDPR’s Right to be Forgotten is a great example of where a lack of trust can smash everything you’ve done to develop a relationship. If your customer choses to exercise this right, they can ask to have every trace of their data removed from your records, no matter how long you’ve been dealing with them. Powerful stuff.
Protecting both your customer’s data and best interests is key to a building trusting relationship. If a customer trusts you and your company, they know that the service you’re providing is in their best interests. It is, however, always good to consult on this where possible, especially if you think it may incur costs. People are more likely to accept what you have to say, if you’re open and honest. Again, highlighting positives of the additional benefits is key. People are willing to pay a bit more if they think they’re going to be protected. After all, that’s all insurance policies are! Assuring a customer that their data is safe with you, is a big deal. Making sure that any data you share with third parties is consensually and contractually agreed is a must have in today’s world.
What can we do about it?
So what does your customer’s trust mean to you? Belief in the reliability or ability of your product/people? How do you show that? How do you inspire that belief?
Only 51% of UK small businesses have a website. Studies show that companies that had a website were trusted 50% more than companies that had just a social media (like Facebook, Twitter etc.) page. This makes clear that having something that stands out and shows your customers you’re established and invested can build trust in your brand.
This survey, conducted in 2017, questioned 1000 UK residents. It also found companies that use a professional email address (one associated with their own domain), benefit from 61% more trust than companies that use free email such as Hotmail / Gmail / Yahoo.
Although you might be thinking “I don’t need a website or email address for my business because I don’t sell online”, or “my business is too small for a website”. 73% of UK consumers (3 out of every 4), said that when searching online for a product or service, they prefer to click first on a website ending in .uk.
CloudARM are here to show you that building out a website isn’t scary and expensive. A sole trader with a website earns, on average, over £15,000 per annum more than those without. Is it not time you invested less than 1% of that? And we’re not just here to dump a website on you and leave. Wanting to gain your trust, we’ll be there to support you at every turn for all your IT support and purchasing needs.
You don’t have to be techie to get technical. Talk to CloudARM today and start building a better business tomorrow.