Building Consumer Trust To Earn A Greater ROI


Trust Filter by Intersection Consulting
I was at the gym yesterday unwinding after an awesome Spinning® class when I overheard some workout friends discussing how some businesses are just better at building consumer trust with both action and words.  You see, our gym is under new management and poor customer communications are a very hot topic for many of us now.  It might have been the feel good endorphins from the class; but even on a day off, I love hearing non-marketers describe what makes up good marketing communications. It seemed the criteria valued the most were “Honesty”, “Credibility”, “Responsive Customer Communication”, “Accountability” and “Transparency”. They are 100% correct and even more so in today’s socially connected world.
The discussion also provided with me a new audience to tell my favorite cautionary tale on how NOT to market your business.  Several years ago, I was flying to Los Angeles one early morning when a fellow passenger arrived late and was clearly hung over.  He flopped into the seat next to me and took a badly needed nap. He woke up 3 hours later dehydrated and needing lots of water.  Once rehydrated, “Ron” informed me he was a celebrity chiropractor to the stars and knew he could help re-align my body with a few adjustments. I am pretty immune to spam advertising and junk mail.  However, travelling at 500 miles per hour with no place to hide is another matter. At least if I had been on my computer I could have easily hit “delete”.  Ron gave me his business card and told me to call him for an appointment. I looked at his business card and could not help but notice several of his listed clients were well-known BUT also deceased! Based on this encounter, I would say Ron blew an opportunity to gain a potential client. It was also a good thing for him social media was in its infancy because stories like this now travel faster than any airplane with just the press of a button.

Consumers now in the driver’s seat

Once upon a time brands were successful without consumers knowing anything except the advertising and cost when making buying decisions.  Social Media has now empowered consumers with both knowledge and the cojones to hold brands accountable. Everything is transparent and now it the companies who have no place to hide. Consumers are savvy on everything from corporate manufacturing policies in Third World Countries to product ingredients, or deciding if the brand successfully delivers on its claims or promises:  Sketchers and Nutella have recently been sued by U.S consumers for using misleading or false advertising claims and found guilty as charged.

The new reality of a modern marketplace means brands and even smaller practitioners like Ron need to get on board. Building trust is not complicated, but it does take a great deal of work and skill to get it right. If you hope to build trust and the ability to collaborate with customers the messaging is just as my gym buddies mentioned: “truthful”, “credible” “responsive”, “accountable” and “transparent”.

Be the one who does it best and watch your ROI grow!

Google has the enviable claim of being rated by FORTUNE Magazine as the #1 most trustworthy company in the world for the fourth year in a row.  When a company garners that kind of trust it makes them even more productive and can actually help propel their business forward. Google went public in 2004. Over the next three years, the stock proceeded to blast from $100 to $700 per share. And in 2013, that stock is poised to hit $1,000 a share. Great Place to Work®, a global human resources consulting company, has spent 30 years identifying the tangible business benefits for companies considered trustworthy.  Case studies of specific workplaces demonstrated added industry-specific benefits, including reduced shrinkage, improved track records on safety, higher patient satisfaction, better quality job applicants, and more. So, regardless of the size of your company or how long you have been in the marketplace, make sure your brand promise is clear and you can be held accountable for it. Customers become loyal fans when they feel they can trust a company and that trust must be earned. Consistency in your brand messaging and fostering trust cultivates loyalty and hopefully fosters brand advocacy.  Be the one who does it best and reap the rewards.

CC BY-NC 2.0 Trust Filter, a photo by Intersection Consulting