6 EASY WAYS TO BUILD TRUST WITH CLIENTS/CONSUMERS
Are you building trust or building a barrier between your brand and your clients/consumers? Check your understanding and execution of brand strategy with the following tips.
1|QUALITY – How much time and effort do you put into the appearance, delivery, and presentation of your product/service? One thing people usually weigh immediately is whether what they’re receiving is worth their hard-earned money. There is no such thing as cutting corners when it comes to building and fostering trust, especially when it comes to quality and quality control.
Quality and quality control doesn’t have to be expensive. It does require effort and attention to detail. It requires taking your time to organize, plan/prepare and create a system versus a doing a rush job that looks careless and thrown together.
Quality control requires looking over the product or service, no matter how many times you make it. This doesn’t mean that you won’t find a typo somewhere. It means that an item won’t be missing a zipper or button or have a mis-matched font or contain mold or hair in the food. Quality and quality control is a sure way to make or break trust with your audience.
2|TRANSPARENCY – Being open and honest within your brand is critical. I can’t express this enough. If you promise clean ingredients for your products, list all ingredients on the label and online. Saying it is one thing. Providing the list where buyers can see exactly what you’re using, provides a measure of comfort and ease of mind which builds trust.
If you require a deposit to book your services, be upfront about it. Make sure it is stated in black and white and in a place that is easily seen. If you charge a late fee, make sure that is stated very clearly, including the amount. Do not “small print” your clients/consumers. Surprises like that will come across as deceptive.
If you change ingredients, manufactures or if your equipment is now being used for multiple products that may contain items not considered product ingredients, then be upfront and inform your consumers. Brands tend to do this especially when it comes to allergens such as peanuts, soy, wheat, etc.
If your services require recordings, be sure that your clients/consumers know this upfront and agree to it. Meaning, if you are holding a master class online and those in attendance can be seen on screen, let them know that the session is being recorded to give them the option of being visible or in the class all together.
If you are a therapist and confidentiality is expressed and understood except under certain circumstances, let your client know upfront that confidentiality is conditional and let them know all the conditions where it doesn’t apply. Do not gloss over this to simply book and lock a client in and inform them during the first session. That is deceptive and unethical. How can a client trust a deceptive service provider?
3|CONSISTENCY – This is a sure way of building trust. Being consistent, showing up with a pattern of reliability and efficiency will certainly build trust among your clients/consumers. It demonstrates commitment and a high level of professionalism. This is where a lot of brands tend to falter.
Consistency includes the communication aspect of your brand. Is your brand message consistent? Does it align with your mission, vision, presentation, expression, etc.? Is your online presence consistent?
It could be a simple of having the same social media handles so that you’re easy to find, having a consistent brand color scheme on your website and brand products. It could be a matter of consistency as it relates to the quality of a product.
Consistency is a very big area where trust is fostered. If all else, be consistent!
4|STABILITY – This is likened to consistency. If you are inconsistent this demonstrates a lack of stability. Meaning, if you show up for a week, but falter and randomly reappear the following month, potential clients/consumers will take that as a sign of instability. This doesn’t mean that you can’t take a break, however, be willing to adjust your schedule to a more stable pattern. Inform your clients/consumers of your vacation or break.
A lack of stability may come across as though you’re not serious about doing business, not prepared to do business, or that your business may not be around for long. People want to know that you and your business are stable, because clients/consumers tend to want to support a brand continuously.
Stability builds trust, especially if you have a great service or product. People generally want to continue receiving it. Instability breeds disappointment as well as that unfortunately popular response, “See, I tried to support this brand…” This tends to send people over to larger companies.
So, if you sell fine jewelry or offer therapy services and lack stability, those who attempted to support your brand will go to Zales or a popular therapist who has a household name. It is very hard to win people back after that kind of disappointment and loss of trust.
If you plan to expand your brand and have industry-related sub-brands, be sure to communicate this to your followers. Take them along the journey so that it doesn’t come across as an abrupt surprise/shock or is misinterpreted as a sign that the first brand failed or is forgotten. Do your best to have a “Stay Tuned for …” or a “Save the date…” or a “Coming Soon…” announcement as well as a story behind the expansion.
Do not expect your clients/consumers to “just know” or for it to make sense to them when you haven’t clued them in to your overall vision.
5|RELATABILITY – Are your services or products able to connect with your target audience? Meaning is your problem-solving promise or solution resonating with those you are seeking to sell to or work with. It can be a matter of your choice of words, storytelling, or the entire brand message that either attracts or repels. This becomes easier when you know who your target audience is.
Most of the time brands, especially new brands, don’t have a solid understanding of who they are pitching to. Or they believe that pitching to everyone is okay. That is a recipe for reaching either the wrong audience or no audience at all.
Just as it is easy to tell when a brand knows its audience, it feels like they are speaking directly to you, it is just as easy to tell when a brand is unsure of who they are speaking to. The language is very general and it doesn’t relate to a specific type of client/consumer. This approach doesn’t foster trust at all.
6|AUTHENTICITY – Are you using your voice when presenting products and services, or does it come across mechanical or cold? Are you imitating another brand’s voice in your attempt at what you perceive as duplicating their success?
This is a very common mistake that inhibits trust. People can usually tell when a brand is not being authentic, because it comes across robotic, too trendy or like everyone else’s brand. Your unique voice, style or approach is missing. Building trust with your brand means finding YOUR voice and using it.
6.5|MORALITY – Does your brand support a charitable cause? Often, especially now-a-days, you’ll find many brands support or are attached to a particular cause or charity. It may be faith-based, mental health related, physical health related or attached to a cause to end something such as homelessness.
Creating an avenue for your brand to be a part of something bigger than itself demonstrates humility, compassion, altruism, and connects you to an audience that may not “need” your product or service but wants to support your brand because of the cause you support.
When you demonstrate a measure of charity and selflessness, you show that your brand is not just out for money and making a profit. You show that there are more important things in life that a dollar. Even if you are raising funds, those funds are going towards something to improve a condition and/or build awareness. This act of morality for your brand builds trust and appreciation for your extended efforts.
So, how did you do? How does your brand strategy and methods for building trust among your audience align with the above tips?
Ebony S. Muhammad is the Brand Strategist and Owner of MODIC Design. Her area of expertise resides in Brand Identity, Brand Messaging and Modern Web Design and Digital Architecture. Learn more about her work at modicdesign.com. If you have any questions about Brand Strategy as it relates to your industry, click the following button to set up a complimentary Clarity Call. Follow MODIC Design on Instagram.