Businesses rely on trust. Consumers trust that when they purchase a product online, it will arrive. And holidaymakers trust pilots to comfortably land them at their destination.
Although these things sometimes go wrong, we continue to order online and fly abroad, because it’s easier to trust businesses when the benefits are clear. That said, trust needs to deepen if organisations want to create more personalised and seamless customer experiences.
A sure-fire way to stand out…
Consumers have to place some level of trust in businesses if they want to use their services. It’s their only option. But if companies want to stand out, deliver unbeatable customer experience, and build customer loyalty, they must find a way to earn true consumer trust in order to offer full personalisation and flexibility.
Consumer trust in business
We buy from companies and use their services, but do we actually trust them?
According to Edelman, some of us do, and some of us don’t – 56% of people trust businesses, classified as ‘neutral’, but considering how often consumers deal with businesses on a daily basis, that’s not enough.
Businesses must break through this barrier if they wish to create seamless customer experiences and loyalty. One example of distrust comes through different communication channels.
Our email inboxes are so cluttered with spam, fraud or phishing that most of us only open them if we need to, and we’ll happily hand our addresses out to companies.
Emails can be filtered, addresses are created and shut down easily.
However, phone numbers are more personal; users are guarded about who has their number – especially if it involves letting a business into their network. It’s clear we don’t trust companies enough.
Technology can instigate trust
One prohibition in earning consumer trust is that many consumers don’t understand the benefits it brings.
Instead, we assume the worst: our data is sold to the highest bidder, Google and Facebook listen to our every conversation. We’re sceptical as if we’re in one long episode of Black Mirror.
Meanwhile, consumers want voice assistants like Alexa to deliver the results they require. They expect the companies they don’t trust to deliver everything instantly. Yet over time, technology will be able to help companies achieve it.
Delivering a quality customer experience
Technologies such as machine learning (ML) will give consumers the quality customer service and experience that they crave – as long as they give these technologies the information required.
Voice assistants want to learn from their users, with every interaction creating more personalisation, to the point where the device will make judgement calls, understanding all previous information to make an informed decision about what the user might be looking for. The more informed, the more personalised. The task now is to turn this idea into a reality and to leverage it for a more streamlined all-encompassing process.
Reaping the rewards
The importance of trust – and what it can do for consumers – factors back into the email address versus mobile number conversation.
With trust, businesses have customers’ direct mobile numbers with permission to contact them on instant messaging apps such as Facebook or Whatsapp, and customer service drastically improves.
It’s direct and interactive. Intelligent bots make the process quicker and easier and can market on a highly personal, one-to-one basis – lowering operational costs and waiting times along with it.
Capitalising on genuine trust
Not only can companies deliver the right product, service or package, but the inspiration as well. Consider holidays. Even choosing which location to visit can be difficult, let alone specific hotels, flights and extras.
However, if a company has all the information required to make informed decisions on what each individual customer wants, the process becomes simplified.
If someone decides they want to get away for a week, they could ask their voice assistant: “Give me some ideas on where I could go in 2 weeks’ time with a group of friends for 10 days on the beach in the Mediterranean,” and they’d receive a perfect destination that suits their needs with all the information ready to book there and then.
The opportunities are huge
Developing true trust between companies and consumers is in everyone’s best interests. Customers become more loyal, and businesses can reduce costs while improving revenue. Customers receive more value for their money, with better experiences more tailored to them.
However, true trust must first be established – and this is the bridge businesses need to cross. Organisations need to find a way to show customers that they’re not going to misuse data and prove the benefits for consumers once they have opened up to companies.