The customer’s always right… and the customer doesn’t trust your brand. To quote the 2018 Edelman TRUST Barometer:
“The 2018 Edelman TRUST BAROMETER reveals a world of seemingly stagnant distrust. People’s trust in business, government, NGOs and media remained largely unchanged from 2017 — 20 of 28 markets surveyed now lie in distruster territory, up one from last year. Yet dramatic shifts are taking place at the market level and within the institution of media.”https://www.edelman.com/trust-barometer
If you want to win back consumer trust, you’ll have to engage with consumers on their level. That means building empathy, personalizing experiences, and focusing on user-first experiences.
How Did We Lose Consumer Trust?
While there are many possible reasons that consumer trust has eroded over the past decade, I can take a few guesses at the reasons.
1. “Professional” Design is Easy to Mimic
There was a time when professional sites looked like the New York Times, and amateur sites or conspiracy theorists were build on Geocities. That time has passed – Buzzfeed is a reputable news site filled with colors, gifs, and font changes, and BizStandard News is a satire site frequently shared and mistaken as real news.
As a new organization, you not only need to look trustworthy and say you’re trustworthy, but you need to prove yourself.
2. There are 1.8 Billion Websites
We’ve long heard that a good content strategy is necessary to combat the “noise”. And there’s more noise than ever out there, with 1.8 billion websites as of February 2018. So even if you share trustworthy information… is anyone seeing you?
3. We Stopped Being Trustworthy
Of course, “not all companies.” But many companies like to speak up about our beliefs… in the abstract. And for every REI speaking out for marriage equality is a Lululemon caught in a hypocritical moment. At this point, there are so many boycotts against companies for acting in a way counter to what they said they believed in, or counter to what we wish they believed in, it’s impossible to stay abreast of all of them.
Is it any wonder consumers struggle to trust us?
Regaining Trust with Omnichannel Strategies
How will an omnichannel strategy win back consumer trust? It all comes down to the things that make up an omnichannel strategy.
- Building empathy
- Personalizing the experience
- Testing and measuring results
An omnichannel strategy is, quite simply, a strategy that transcends channels. In other words it’s not specific to a website, or a specific device, or a type of communication (phone, web, events).
The first step is to identify what channels are appropriate for your audience – and to do that you need to learn about your audience. As it happens, learning about the consumers is also the best way to begin building trust.
Personalize the Experience
Once you know where your audience spends time, the next step of building an omnichannel strategy is to trace the consumer’s goals and connect them to the places they might accomplish them. Perhaps you sell lawn mowers, and your consumers want to have beautiful lawns. They may use Pinterest to get landscaping ideas, Facebook to ask for recommendations on good lawn mowers, your website to browse for the right one, and your store (in person) for the purchase.
But you can break your audience down as well. Some of your consumers have different goals – they need a new lawn mower to replace the broken one. Or they need to find the right Mother’s Day gift, for the woman who is still using a 20 year old push mower on a 4 acre property.
By learning about these different personas, divided by need and behaviors (rather than demographics), you can personalize the experience. You’ll show your consumer that you understand them, and that they can trust you to help guide them forward.
Test, Measure, and Update
It’s easy to forget this, but part of being consumer-driven means learning from the consumer. Once you put a strategy in place, the work is not done. Now it’s time to launch, test, and measure the success. If you’ve build trust, it’s time to go the next step. If you haven’t, it’s a great opportunity to find out why, finesse your personalization, and update the omnichannel strategy.
The Customer’s Always Right
Brand is what they say about you when you leave the room. The best way to make people say you’re trustworthy is to build trust – across every channel.
With omnichannel strategies you can increase trust, and increase engagement.