Customer trust is crucial to running a successful business. Building trust ensures repeat business. A loyal customer base also encourages customers to spend more and advocate for trusted brands, as shown in the graphic below. Brand advocacy amplifies positive messages and spreads the word about products and companies. Word of Mouth can make or break a brand. Your product is not what you say it is, but what they say it is. In our fast-paced and digital world, the best way to spread awareness for your brand is securing influence through Word of Mouth. In sum, having customer trust enables your business to spread influence.
Customer trust and loyalty are vital to growing a business, yet they still aren’t the norm. According to Salesforce’s Trends in Customer Trust Report, only 54% of customers believe that companies have their best interests in mind. This lack of trust demonstrates that brand advocacy isn’t reaching its full potential. Your own business could be missing out on a valuable marketing opportunity by not securing customer trust and loyalty.
Salesforce reports that 84% of customers think that being treated like a person rather than a number is important to winning their business. How can you get better at treating people like people? The answer is building relationships through building community. Local programs and events build relationships with the common thread of your brand. These relationships ensure that customers are loyal to your company. Without these relationships, your customers could jump ship and give their business to brands who are creating better relationships with their customers. The most loyal customers are also the most energized marketers. Engaging with top customers and directing their passion towards growing a community of users is the most authentic way to build trust in a user community.
A strong customer community can be used for answering questions that new customers may have about a product. There are many ways to answer these questions, such as chatbots or FAQ pages. However, these automated responses do not build trust, while in-person responses ensure increased trust and brand loyalty. The answers and solutions that user communities can provide are in-depth and have a personal tone. FAQs can become static and incomplete as products change, making customer communities an incredibly useful tool for tailoring the perfect response to a customer’s question. There are so many different use cases for a community. Customer Success Communities are just one. Check out the CMX SPACE Model to see how other companies and brands are using their communities to drive business value.
Gen Z and millennial customers are looking for companies that they can trust. Not only because they are becoming increasingly skeptical about spending their money at untrustworthy companies, but also because they are the future of work. The brightest individuals will be in search of a role at a company that they can trust. According to the Deloitte Millennial Survey, “opinions about business’ motivations and ethics, which had trended up the past two years, retreated dramatically this year, as did their sense of loyalty.” Younger generations are looking for companies that consider providing value for the greater society before focusing on their own profit-based agenda.If companies want to gain the trust of their customer base, they need to begin to do so authentically. Consumers are beginning to see through the veil of traditional marketing schemes and are craving a new way to advocate from brands that provide value for them.
What to read next: How to Build Trust, the Crucial Ingredient of Collaborative Consumption