Inbound Marketing Blog

26 October, 2016

Why Every Marketer Needs to Understand Time to Trust

Written by Cath Lyon

on 26 October, 2016

Anyone who works in customer services, sales or marketing knows that it takes more than just one asset or conversation to convert a customer. You need to contact them over several touchpoints, make your contact with them consistent and earn their trust before they decide to buy from you.

What you certainly can’t do is jump-start the gun. For example, there’s no point having a pop-up with a 15% discount offer for someone who has literally just landed on your site. They don’t even know what you do yet, never mind if they want to buy from you. That sort of pushy selling is going to turn them off straight away and make them trust you even less.

The best brands know how to earn customers’ trust, and earn it quickly

They also understand that trust works both ways; if you trust your customers, they will trust you back.

John Lewis’ item replacement policy is a prime example of this. They have an excellent reputation for replacing faulty products and have a baseline 2 year guarantee on all of their products. This shows that they trust their customers enough to believe that it is a fault of the product rather than the customer when it is returned to them. Because of the trust that they instill in their customers, customers in turn feel that they can trust the brand.

However, for marketers, it is very difficult to build this trust. You don’t have the benefit of in-store customer contact to help build up trust, in fact, you may never meet the customers that you are trying to reach. Building trust in a competitive online world means setting yourself apart by your honesty.

Customer reviews and online honesty

Having testimonials and case studies on your website are one thing, however, the statistics say that hearing from customers is the most influential when they’re making a purchase decision. According to Reevoo stats, 50 or more customer reviews per product can mean a 4.6% increase in conversion rates and an 18% uplift in sales on average.

Encouraging customer reviews is not only valuable for converting customers but for attracting them too. Google values ‘real-life’ data when establishing its rankings, which means that the more reviews you have, the more likely you are to be found by new customers. This applies for both negative and positive reviews, as Reevoo’s findings also suggest that the presence of bad reviews actually improves conversions by 67%.

The presence of some negative reviews increases credibility in the eyes of customers and makes it more likely for them to trust you as a result of your honesty. In fact, 30% of customers suspect censorship or faked reviews when they don’t see any negative opinions on the page.

Speedy online responses

Rather than completing complaint forms, these days, customers are more likely to take to social media to express their discontent at your products or services. Monitoring these channels and making sure that you react promptly to these concerns shows that you’re responsive to your customers’ needs and aren’t afraid to face up to your mistakes.

Responding to online complaints quickly and positively will build trust quickly amongst your customers and is visible for any potential leads to see. This transparency, in the same way as reviews, will help to build your reputation in your customer's eyes.

Treat them on a one-to-one basis

Providing the one-to-one service that a customer would receive in-store online is a challenge, but something that will really set you apart from your competitors. Offering a personalised service will not only show that you care about your customers, but about their personal preferences.

Spotify, for example, creates an automatically generated and personalised playlist for each of their premium customers. This way they go above and beyond to reward customer loyalty and build trust amongst their customer-base.

Building up this personalised style service shows that you as a brand care for your customer on a one-to-one level as you would in a store and don’t just think of them as another number. This shows that you value and trusts your customers not just to existing but future ones too.

Track how long it takes customers to convert

By taking an audit of your customer’s journeys on a regular basis, you will soon build up a more accurate picture of the timescale that it takes to convert, what materials are better at converting and what issues prevent some leads from becoming customers.

Examine a small and diverse sample of customers and study their journeys up-close to get a real idea of how long it takes for your customers to trust and ultimately, buy from you. This way you can take a more focused approach to improving your customer service and start to really differentiate yourselves from your competitors.

Embrace a time to trust philosophy across your whole company

Once you’ve analysed your customer’s journeys and considered where improvements need to be made within your organisation, you can begin to spread the philosophy across the whole company with the changes that you make. This way, customer journeys will become the focus for all employees from the top-down, allowing for a consistent performance within all customer-facing areas of the company, not just within marketing. Understanding the time-frame that it takes for customers to convert will shift the focus from each department being responsible for the customer at separate stages, to a more holistic, all-encompassing and successful view of customer service.

Topics: Trust Marketing