What do they want? Authenticity. When do they want it? Now!
When it comes to giving your customers a reason to trust you, it’s no secret that authenticity is the special ingredient that makes this happen. You could have all the right ingredients for a successful brand from the outside, like a great product, a great site or store, and yet if your customers don’t believe that what you say and do is genuine, the rest is futile.
If a customer can find a brand that they can trust, this makes their life a whole lot easier. It means less time researching, questioning, and trialing new products or brands.
Authenticity means customer loyalty, but customers need proof before they decide to hop on the loyalty bandwagon. How can you give them this proof? We’ve got 5 tips for how you can prove to your customers that you’re worth their investing their time and trust into.
1. Be Clear About What You Believe In
Don’t leave it up to guesswork- be clear and direct about what your brand stands for. If you can be loud and proud about what you believe in, your customer will feel reassured knowing exactly what you value without having to feel confused or uncertain. A customer can then easily decide if your values align with theirs, and your brand is more likely to attract the right type of customer. At the end of the day, authenticity is just a word, so it’s up to you to give it meaning. What does authenticity mean to your brand? What does it look like for your brand? If you can make your customer understand your answer, they will be able to understand what your brand is all about.
2. Be Transparent
Your customers aren’t sponges- they won’t just absorb whatever you tell them without any consideration. Customers are savvy, and they don’t like being lied to. To avoid making your customers feel like they’ve been mistreated or misunderstood, this means being open and honest with your customer about the whole process. If you can communicate honestly about your products, services, partners and suppliers, your customer will be much less likely to question your motives and can trust that you have the best intentions for them. The rise of the ethical consumer has seen more and more customers searching for information about the impact of what they’re buying- how it was made, what it was made from, and who made it. Denying information from your customer gives them reason to believe that you have something to hide, which will only result in anger and distrust. If you can show your customer that you are there to protect their interests, this will lead to a higher chance of building a genuine connection that will be earned rather than manufactured.
3. Act with Integrity
Once you make your beliefs known, stand by them. In other words, don’t talk the talk if you can’t walk the walk. If there’s an issue, movement or event that aligns with or threatens your company’s mission, do something about it. If you can prove to your customers that you have credibility, this will give them reason to continue to listen to and support your brand. Your customers won’t trust you if you say one thing and do another, or if you say you believe in something just for the sake of saying that you do, so be prepared to stand up and act on what you say when you need to. In other words, don’t be a yoyo- be consistent. Acting with integrity also includes apologising when things go wrong. It says a lot when a brand comes forward and owns up to a mistake and works to amend that mistake. It’s great to be honest about the positive aspects of your brand, but it’s just as important to be honest about the shortcomings of your brand when things don’t go to plan.
4. Converse, Don’t Just Sell
Let’s face it, we all need to sell. But what you can change is how you sell. If you can focus on creating a two-way, balanced relationship between you and your customer, your customer will be more likely to feel like you are invested in a lot more than their money. Showing the personal aspect of your brand is critical for this step- this means showing patience, listening, taking the time to understand, and prioritising person to person connections. In short, get your human on. Talk to your customer like the person that they are and show them that you respect their intelligence. If a customer knows that you’re likely to respond, listen and engage, they are much more likely to believe that you’re the real deal rather than just an automated advertisement that pumps out mass information. Focusing on helping your customer rather than selling to your customer can potentially help to drive sales much further because they will feel appreciated and valued.
5. Stand for More Than Just Making Money
Your customers know that you need to make money, but what will make them trust in your brand even more is if they know you don’t just have dollar signs in your sights. If you can provide your customers with your relevant and engaging brand story, your customers can engage with this story and will feel inclined to share theirs with you during or after a purchase. This community factor is extremely powerful because it is a driving force that will bring your customers together for a common cause. If you can show your customers that you care just as much about their time outside of your store as you do when they’re in your store, they will be more inclined to believe that you mean a lot more to them than a transaction. If your customers know and believe in your greater purpose, this will help customers to know that your brand is serious about what you do and say.
Calling your brand authentic is a lot easier said than done, but it’s not impossible to convince your customers that you truly mean it. Find out what your customers expect from you, and deliver on these expectations.
Your customers want to be able to put their trust in you, and they won’t settle until they know that they can.