Unfortunately, due to the number of security breaches and data issues throughout various industries, customers don’t trust businesses as much as they once did. Potential clients are especially leery of giving out personal information to an unfamiliar person or website. Not surprisingly, even popular brands are suffering the consequences of those who prefer not to visit sites or download apps after hearing about a particular major breach.
On one hand, consumers expect to receive personalized service, but on the other, this requires data to be collected. This creates quite a dilemma for marketing departments. How do you balance a data-focused strategy and respond to a downturn in consumer trust at the same time?
The Answers to This Dilemma
How does a company build consumer trust? It’s a vicious cycle. Trust by customers is critical to growing sales and an essential element in gaining trust is the seller’s reputation. Therefore, to build this positive reputation requires authenticity, fair dealings, and honesty. One wrong move on the part of the business and the process of gaining trust starts all over again.
Earning Trust From Consumers
Why is trust important? A majority of consumers believe that trust is a major factor in their decision to buy a product. Consumers also feel the need to trust a brand or business to do what’s right for the environment, the community, or their customers. Many potential customers tie their purchase to the brand’s environmental impact, reputation, values, customer experience, and authenticity. It’s a whole package.
In order to gain and keep consumer trust, it’s important for a business to continue communicating to customers through various means. First, they should quickly respond to customer complaints, own up to any mistakes, and take immediate action to correct any issues. This is especially important because a growing number of consumers claim that their choice of what product to buy is affected by a brand’s public beliefs. To reach these “belief-driven” consumers requires marketing that conveys brand beliefs. This cultivates long-term trust and buy-in from customers.
Sharing Data Collection Responsibilities
By ensuring customers always have control over what data is collected, businesses can also increase consumer trust. Through this trust, marketers may obtain data that reveals unexpected details regarding their target market or focus group. By reassuring consumers that collecting this data serves a special purpose – such as giving them a discount – a majority of customers are more willing to share their data.
Other approaches on data collection might include:
- Using the data to offer updates and notifications
- Offering personalized recommendations for other products
- Using data to improve a service or product through suggestions
Maintaining Consumer Trust
Once a business has established trust, extreme lengths to ensure data is not misused by third-party partners must be continued. Failing to protect user data can permanently damage a reputation. Businesses try to prevent problems by investing in IT security, but more steps include:
- Destroy data from unused accounts
- Collect only data the business requires to complete transactions
- Keep customers updated on the importance of data privacy and security
When it comes to trust and data security, businesses have a great deal of responsibility. A vast majority of customers feel that companies must be proactive about protecting customer’s data. This means brands will earn the privilege of consumer trust through securely managing consumer data.
Businesses must be willing to put the same amount of work into building consumer relationships based on trust and authenticity as they are in collecting data. Good news: trust-based marketing strategies generate loyal customers in the long term to grow the business.
Is your strategy in place to gain – or regain – consumer trust? Everything we do gives you a better return on your investment by making people more interested in and more comfortable doing business with your brand. Contact JoTo PR today to get the help you need.