3 Ways for Marketers to Overcome the Trust Gap and Build Brand Loyalty
With 2019 in full swing, retail marketers are recovering from the biggest drop in holiday-season sales since 2009. Not only was it a tough holiday season, but U.S. consumer confidence may be declining as well. Marketers are under the gun to perform against these odds, and building and maintaining customer trust is the key to success. Only the brands that are on top of their game will impress today’s hard-to-win consumers.
According to the findings from Acquia’s “Closing the CX Gap: Customer Experience Trends Report 2019,” marketers are missing the mark on customer experience. Worse yet, they don’t even realize it. While 87 percent of marketers are confident that they're meeting customers’ needs, 66 percent of consumers can’t remember the last time a brand experience exceeded their expectations.
The challenge to closing that gap lies in the paradox of privacy and personalization. Personalization comes at the cost of a consumer’s personal data, and companies are struggling to prove they're worthy of this information. More than half of consumers surveyed said they aren’t confident that brands have their best interests in mind when they use, share and/or store their personal data. This is a significant hurdle for brands, as trust has a strong correlation to sales. According to PwC’s Global Consumer Insights Survey, one in three shoppers rank "trust in brand" among the top three considerations that influence a purchasing decision. Without brand trust, consumers won’t give up their information; without information, brands can’t win trust. So, what are retailers to do?
Walking this fine line can seem daunting, but there is a way forward. Here are some tips for marketers looking to earn consumer trust:
- Protect data. Your customers have given you access to their most precious information during a time when distrust and data breaches are at an all-time high — make sure to keep it safe. Partner with your internal IT and security teams to ensure your data practices are secure and compliant with the latest regulations. Implement opt-in methods so customers are aware that they're relinquishing their information.
- Use data intelligently and thoughtfully. Use the data you've been given wisely. Create ways to engage with customers and show them that you have their best interests at heart. If you’re collecting data on your website visitors, their experience should be welcoming and relevant, and it should be clear why you’ve brought them there.
- Be empathetic. Focus on establishing transparency and trust by showing the customer the benefit of sharing their data. How are you using their data? What are they receiving in return? Keep the lines of communication open and demonstrate clear results to your customers through personalized offers that reach them at the right time, through the right channel and with the right message.
Earning trust isn't always easy, but there’s good news: Delivering positive experiences that earn customers’ trust is likely to have a lasting impact on your brand. Acquia’s Closing the Gap research found that three-quarters of U.S. consumers are more likely to be loyal to a brand that understands them, resulting in an exponential return on investment. In fact, 59 percent of U.S. consumers — the highest of all countries surveyed — reported that once they're loyal to a brand, that brand has their loyalty for life. This is an exciting opportunity for today’s retail brands to earn their place in the hearts and minds of consumers.
Lynne Capozzi is chief marketing officer at Acquia, a digital experience technology company.
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