Consumers are more mistrustful than ever. With survey after survey revealing that high numbers of clients no longer trust local independent retailers and large-scale companies even less so, these are troubling times for brands. The challenge is to learn how to address and combat this mistrust 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 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 2×1 deals and BOGOF offers: The problem with this strategy is the loss of trust. If the consumer is encouraged to spend through tempting deals and later find that the value is missing and the products weren’t worth it, their faith in that brand would decrease.
There are still ways that you can offer value while 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 an excellent way of showing your clients that you see them as individuals. The deals are to improve their weekly shopping budgets rather than just racking up sales for the company.
Avoid dishonesty and promote transparency.
Where possible, be as open and as straightforward as you can be. In the past, brands have claimed to be one thing, and it has turned out that they are another, fooling and duping their unforgiving customers in the process. Once you lose trust 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 an excellent 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 excellent 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 as quickly as possible. High levels of consistency and open, honest streams of communication are what can reestablish brand trust.
Brand Trust once is gone, can be recovered. It is all about recognising your mistakes and offering personalised apologies. Try managing your shortcomings by being open about them. This approach will make 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.