Why going back to basics is the best way to build customer trust

Customers have little trust in businesses and brands. Katja Forbes says we need to get back to basics and keep it personal or lose them altogether.

KatjaForbes_Headshots004Ogilvy’s recent ‘PR Futures’ report outlining key emerging trends that will directly affect businesses and brands going forward contains detailed analysis of data and information gathered from the world’s best technology and creative industry conferences.

The increased use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) was discussed, together with geodata and the impact of security breaches. However, one of the more interesting phenomena identified and explored in this article is that customers have little trust in business and brands, and are looking for ‘people like us’ to bond with and buy from.

In a fast-paced, high tech world that resembles a global village, people are placing more value in the down- to-earth, the simple and the local.

This trend is needs to be considered when designing your user and customer experience.

Customers don’t want to feel like they’re on a conveyer belt. Don’t throw in AI and other fancy bells and whistles just for the sake of it. Yes, we now have the capability to add new technology, but if it doesn’t contribute to the overall experience, then leave it out.

No need to add it just because it’s there. Customers like the notion that your business is run by real empathetic people who have a family, much like themselves. Even with a large business where you simply can’t recall each customer by name, using the customer’s name on your digital newsletter will make them feel noticed and important in this big sensory-cluttered world.

 

Go back to basics

When your business was small and just starting out, you were grateful for each and every purchase – no matter how small. You gave those early customers an exceptional and personalised service for a few reasons: because you wanted referrals, you were still extremely passionate about your business and lastly, because you were just so damned grateful.

You couldn’t afford all the exciting new digital technology to add to your experience (and perhaps they weren’t yet available for sale.) You just relied on your own personal touch and genuine demeanour to delight your customers. The lesson here: take away all the blingy external wrapping and offer
your customers an experience that is simpler, authentic and much more from the heart. You will be rewarded for it.

Social media

Personal and genuine CX actually had a massive boost from social media like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. When these platforms first launched, they were not meant for business at all. They were aimed at individual use, and over time in line with demand, they created some modifications to enable businesses to take part.

Promoting and communicating via social media definitely lends itself to the trend of customers rejecting AI and other fancy offerings. Customers are very smart and have your competition at their fingertips. My advice is to not post as a ‘business’ but to post as you.

Customers will much prefer this approach. They want to know the woman or man behind the company where they spend their money. Importantly, they want to know you are ‘one of them.’ So don’t be shy to show a little of your life on social media. Share a picture of yourself being active, and of your baby playing. This will fascinate your customers who can now relate to you, And if they can relate to you, they will support your business.

Remember, this trend is not telling you to just forget about digital technology, it’s just that your customers want something real when making a purchase. Continue to embrace the new technology, as it can certainly save money and be more productive in your business operation.

Just make sure your customers receive some simplicity and also some genuine experiences along the way.

Keep it real and give your customers the best and most genuine experience that means something to you as well as to them.

 

Katja Forbes is founder of Syfte

 

Further reading

 

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