Trust isn’t necessarily something that only the largest corporations enjoy. In fact, a recent survey by Yell found that 41 per cent of people in the UK are more trusting of local businesses than larger firms.
The online business directory’s study noted that there has been a loss of public faith in big companies, the government and the media, which has strengthened trust in smaller, local brands and service providers.
Respondents said they were most trusting of dentists, hairdressers and gardeners, while car dealers, estate agents and letting agencies engendered the lowest levels of trust that they would deliver a good service at a fair price.
More than three-quarters of the people surveyed said they would take advice from a friend or family member when selecting a brand to use, emphasising the importance of word-of-mouth for emerging businesses.
Richard Hanscott, chief executive officer of Yell, said: “While public sentiment towards established institutions such as governments, media and large corporates is at a record low, the need for reliable information in the era of ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’ is growing. Our research shows that while trust for the traditional societal pillars is waning, local businesses are stepping up to the plate to fill this vacuum.”
He added: “Our findings emphasise the need for local companies to understand their audience’s decision-making journey when choosing a local supplier.”
When it comes to developing your company’s own brand and building up a strong, trusting relationship with your key customers, here are some important guiding principles to bear in mind:
• Listen to what your customers want – If your customers are telling you what they expect from your service and what is important to them, be sure to listen and tailor your offerings accordingly. This will build trust by showing that not only are you listening to your customers, but you are willing to take special action to meet their needs.
• Be friendly and approachable – Customers are more likely to feel comfortable and willing to trust a brand or service provider if there is some sort of personal relationship in place. Maintaining a friendly, personable tone in all of your brand communications will do wonders for improving engagement with clients and individuals.
• Welcome all feedback – All feedback can be positive, even if it is a criticism or complaint. Customer opinion is one of the most valuable gauges of trust in your brand, so take every opportunity to find out what people think and accept even the harshest reviews with appreciation and professionalism.
• Deliver on your promises – Failing to deliver something that has been promised – completing an order or having a product ready by a certain date, for example – can have an extremely damaging impact on levels of trust in your brand. When you make commitments to your customers, make absolutely sure that you are able to fulfil them.
Posted by Julie Tucker
Image courtesy if iStock/Oko_SwanOmurphy
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