Consumers are more mistrustful than ever. With survey after survey revealing that high numbers of consumers no longer trust local independent retailers and large-scale companies even less so, these are troubling times for brands. The challenge for all brands is to learn how to address and combat this mistrust in order to get consumers back onside if they are to increase sales. Here’s how it can be done:
Be mindful of whether or not you’re really offering value
A quick fix for falling sales has often been to offer up deals and giveaways on products. This is often the case for supermarkets, who will advertise 2-4-1 deals and BOGOF offers on an array of produce. This is problematic as if consumers are encouraged to spend through the tempting deals, but later find that the value is missing and that the products weren’t worth the amount that they were bought for, their trust in that brand decreases.
There are still ways that you can offer value whilst still selling at low prices. Personalisation is key. Waitrose, for example, offers a loyalty program where consumers can clock up points on items that they buy most frequently; points which equate to money off of said items in the future. This is a great way of showing customers that they are seen as individuals by brands and that deals are aimed at improving their weekly shopping budgets rather than just racking up sales for the company.
Avoid dishonesty, promote transparency.
Where possible be as open and as straightforward as you can be. So many times in the past brands have claimed to be one thing and it has turned out that they are in fact another, fooling and duping their unforgiving customers in the process. It is often the case when brands claim to have green credentials and claim that their products are ethically sourced. Often when environmentally conscious consumers find out this was a fabrication, they sever all ties and never regain trust in the brand. Once trust is lost due to a lack of faith in transparency this is hard to remedy. It is often better for brands to seek to be as transparent as humanly possible from the off. McDonald’s achieved this by acknowledging publicly their shortcomings and the concerns consumers have about the nutritional value of their products. The brand opened up a dialogue with customers whereby they acknowledged their concerns and sought to eradicate them with openness and honesty. This is a great way of proving your authenticity and transparency by acknowledging past mistakes and shortcomings, rather than claiming to be flawless and later getting found out.
When failures inevitably arise and things do go wrong, the quickest way to remedy this is with good customer service. In the Social Media powered age, this means replying to consumers on social channels with explanations and offers to reverse the damage caused. Respond to both negative and positive comments from consumers as quickly as possible. High levels of consistency and open honest streams of communication are what can reestablish brand trust. Where possible make your responses personal and even humorous. Dare to make your responses public, so that if they are received warmly your whole audience will see them. This is a great way of restoring brand trust
Brand Trust once gone, can be recovered. It is all about recognising your mistakes and offering personalised apologies. Try managing your own shortcomings by being open about them even before they are experienced. This is sure to win you respect and admiration and increased levels of that all-important brand trust- which is vital if customers are going to buy from you.