Trust Could Be Your Missing Ingredient to Building a Better Brand Reputation
Earning and then protecting a trusted brand reputation should be at the heart of any good business strategy; yet, it often falls by the wayside because it arguably cannot be easily quantified. That said, your customer community and the trust you instill in your customers should be viewed as your greatest asset and a key ingredient to brand reputation. Sixty-six percent of U.S. customers say they’re often influenced by customer reviews during the journey to purchase, meaning building a customer-centric business that not only fosters the current customer base but welcomes new ones can, in turn, result in an increase in the overall bottom line.
With over 2.6 billion consumers shopping online this year, the first step to evaluating your level of customer trust is looking at your online presence through three key avenues: positive engagement, handling negative reviews, and actions taken from customer feedback.
Engage With Customers in a Meaningful Way
Ninety-three percent of consumers say they read online reviews before making a purchase decision. This, coupled with the fact that 40 percent of consumers will never again buy from a brand if they purchased something from a misleading review, shows that consumers are paying attention to a brand’s review presence. It's critical for online engagement to not only be authentic, but also consistent, to show customers there are faces behind the screen that want to give them a positive brand experience.
The human element to brand engagement is what makes the communication genuine. That’s why response rates and personalized communications, both of which feed into positive engagement, are so important and should be at the forefront of any customer communication strategy.
More than 50 percent of consumers read at least four reviews before buying a product or service, meaning if each customer review is receiving a similar response from the brand, potential customers may view this as being disingenuous.
Leverage the Negative and Act
It can be harmful to a business to remove or censor negative customer reviews; yet, this, unfortunately, still happens in other areas of the online review industry — and it must stop. While it may seem like receiving critical feedback could hurt a business, it's in fact an important step to increasing brand reputation, as it boosts credibility with consumers.
Negative reviews should instead be viewed as advantageous because they offer a business the chance to engage with the customer, let them know they’ve been heard, and offer a solution — while also reassuring prospective customers that they value feedback and genuinely care about providing a great service experience.
While that solution may be as simple as promising to look into the customer’s feedback further, small steps can go a long way in ensuring potential customers that your brand acts and chooses to learn to better the customer experience.
An example of a business that has successfully taken this approach is Setmore. “With [consumer] reviews, you get incredible insight into what your customers love and don’t love, plus what they would want. It all helps tremendously in guiding our road map,” says Jillian Ross, brand leader at Setmore. “With Trustpilot, we’ve really been able to build relationships with our customers, taking the time to respond to each review.”
Maintaining genuine customer relationships is one of the most important and precious business tools you can utilize. Brand reputation is earned and takes time to build from the ground up — yet, crucially, it can be destroyed in a moment. Trust is at the center of these relationships; taking the time to better understand how to increase and maintain that trust will result in success.
Carolyn Jameson joined Trustpilot to oversee consumer strategy, legal affairs, global PR, and external communications, with the primary goal of ensuring the integrity of Trustpilot’s platform as it continues to grow.
Carolyn Jameson joined Trustpilot in the summer of 2019 to oversee Trustpilot’s consumer strategy, legal affairs, global PR, and external communications, with the primary goal of ensuring the integrity of Trustpilot’s platform as it continues to grow.
Prior to Trustpilot, Carolyn was Chief Legal Officer for Skyscanner and Head of International M&A for Ctrip, where she built and maintained their legal and public affairs, M&A, and corporate communications across global markets. She’s committed to using her experience to build trust between consumers and businesses and help drive the next step of Trustpilot’s journey.
Carolyn trained as a barrister and solicitor in London and holds an LLM in Intellectual Property from the University of Edinburgh.