Ask yourself this question: What’s the one thing you (as a consumer) want from a brand? You might be surprised with the results from the 2014 Authentic Brands Study. The number one thing consumers want from brands is…
TRUST. Communicating honestly about its products/services to be exact.
Now think from the business side of the equation. Are YOU – as a business – providing that trust your customers want?
Why Building Trust Is Essential To Your Business
Think of every relationship that you’ve ever had. Mother/Daughter. Wife/Husband. Employer/Employee. It doesn’t matter what type of relationship you have, the one thing that can tear it apart quicker than quicksand (well, quicksand is actually quite slow, but you get the jist) is Mistrust. Once you’ve lost trust, it’s extremely difficult to build it back up.
Sometimes it can take years of building trust to restore the relationship. But your business doesn’t have years. In today’s fast-paced culture of now, now, now consumers will move on and find another business in a blink of an eye. This is why building trust is so very important for your business!
Let’s look at the findings of the study:
Ninety-one percent of consumers find honesty and trust the most important behavior for a company to display.
Jump down to #2 and #3 and you will see that business integrity is right up there with honesty. And what does building trust lead to?
Building Trust Leads To Customer Loyalty
That’s right! Once your consumers trust you, they will become loyal to your business. Loyal customers are what every business aims to have. And we know that loyal customers are the ones that will bring in the most organic leads you can ever ask for.
When asked the question: If a company is open, honest and authentic, what effect does this have on you?, consumers were crystal clear as to what effect it has on their loyalty to that company. The results tell us exactly what we need to know: Building trust has a huge effect on consumers!
- Sixty-four percent are loyal to the company
- Sixty-three percent will buy from the company over competitors
- Fifty-nine percent would recommend the company to friends and family
Those are some pretty convincing numbers. And even seeing the percentages and numbers, you have to wonder if that’s really translating into daily life. Do people truly trust big brands like, McDonald’s or Coca Cola?
It looks like they actually do! McDonald’s takes first place as the most authentic global brand with Coca Cola making the list at #13. Geoff Beattie, global leader of corporate affairs at Cohn & Wolfe, explains it like this,
“Following the recent years of economic turmoil, consumers are demanding a more open and honest relationship with big brands.”
And it shows. Consumers are particularly vocal on publicly condemning brands for their unethical behavior. And with the power of social media, one bad review can do more damage in a day than it could previously in a year.
Building Trust Step-By-Step
Let’s get right down to it. How does your business start building trust with your customers? It’s one thing to talk about it, but a completely different thing to actually do it. Thanks to the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer, we have 16 key attributes to building trust:
Breaking it down into 5 Performance Clusters, we can see exactly what businesses need to do and how.
This is a big one! There seems to be a fine line between ethical and non-ethical business practices these days. But here’s some advice: Don’t creep too close to that line. Stay morally in the clear. It’s almost like being back in elementary school…just because many other businesses “are doing it” doesn’t mean you need to. Talk the talk and walk the walk.
- Practice ethical business practices.
- Take responsibility for any issues or problems your business has produced.
- Be open and transparent in ALL your business transactions.
How you treat your customers and your employees shows people exactly what type of business you truly are. One bad move can damage your business’ reputation forever.
- Listen and respond to your customers.
- Treat your employees with respect and dignity.
- Place your customers ahead of your profits (if you want to make any).
- All communications inside and outside the business must be honest.
PRODUCTS & SERVICES
It’s not only how you behave that is important in building trust, but your product plays a huge part as well. How can people trust your business if your products and services – I’ll just say it – suck? Your product/service represents your business, so it better be at the highest standard possible.
- Offer high-quality products and services.
- Don’t get stale where you are. Be innovative and offer new products and services.
An interesting statistic from the above survey showed that 74 percent of consumers want companies to stand for more than just making money.
That number translates to how much positive impact your business has on the community and society as a whole. Are you giving back? Your consumers want you to!
- Make efforts to become eco-friendly.
- Address society’s needs.
- Get involved in your local community.
- Partner with NGO’s (non profits) to address societal needs.
This involves the leadership of your business. Building trust starts from the top and works its way down to everyone in the company. Your leader should be the example that all other employees are following.
- Have first-class and highly-respected leaders in place.
- Make a goal to become a top-ranked business, globally.
- Deliver consistent and honest financial return to your investors.
If your business has all 16 of these key attributes to building trust in place, you’re already on top of things and probably have a great rapport with your customers. If you find your business lacking in some of these areas, now’s your chance to make things right. Start implementing these practices into daily operations and watch your business build trust and loyalty.
How does your business build trust with its customers? Let us know in the comments below!
This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: Why Building Trust Should Be Your Top Business Priority
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