Sales & Marketing

The best and worst words to use when building customer trust and loyalty

7 min read

06 November 2017

Deciding how your company describes and advertises itself is imperative to gaining new customers – and there are key words that you should take on board to get the job done.

You want to stand out and promote your services – but doing so with the wrong message can risk turning people away from your brand before they even learn what you provide, having an impact on building customer trust.

To find out which words can help a business when building customer trust and loyalty, business gifts supplier Adler recently spoke with the men and women behind some of the UK’s top SMEs and asked them to rank a wide variety of words that could be used to promote a business. You can see how each word scored on the graphic below:

BestBusinessWords Building customer trust

Words to use for building customer trust

When asked to explain their choices, interviewees praised “innovative” and “unique” as they distinguished companies from their competition without appearing hyperbolic, unlike “game-changing” and “visionary”.

Barry Ryan, marketing manager of Tactus Group, knows the benefits of being innovative in a competitive industry. He said: “The technology industry moves so fast that if you fail to be innovative and iterate quickly then you can easily get left behind.

“So, having the drive to discover the next big technology is crucial to being successful – and this can transcend to any business in any sector.”

Words such as “ethical”, “qualified”, “proven” and “recommended” also ranked well, as they can be supported with evidence. Any company that is part of an ethical program (such as diversity hiring or environmental aid), has industry-specific qualifications or has received recommendations and praise from authoritative sources can easily back up their promotional rhetoric.

On the other hand, language such as “adaptable” and “precise” is much harder to provide examples of, and could risk sounding generic and vague to customers.

Words to avoid for building customer trust

“Well-rounded” proved to be one of the biggest terms to avoid, as Sean Mallon, CEO of Bizdaq, explained. “Businesses exist for a purpose and that purpose is to provide goods or services,” he said.

“By describing your business as ‘well-rounded’, you’re not telling anyone about the goods or services you’re providing, and nothing about how you provide them.”

“Strategic” also scored poorly in the research and should be avoided as a promotional word, as Xperience Days MD Robb Young revealed: “It means a million things to a million different people. You can’t measure strategy.”

Other words, including “adaptable” and “detailed”, may seem positive, though are likely to be found too vague which hurts their intended meaning for customer trust.

Creating a tone of voice

Small businesses can greatly benefit from defining their brand’s tone of voice early in the company’s lifespan, then adapting it as they grow for building customer trust.

A coherent tone of voice unifies your company’s language across all of its channels, helping to create a stronger identity in the mind of customers, whether you’re speaking with them through social media, traditional advertising, or updating existing customers with a subscriber email.

Realistic

Customers know when a company is genuine and when they’re simply trying to gain attention, so make sure your company is everything it is claiming to be. This doesn’t mean short-changing your company’s ambitions; rather you should be mindful of your current progress and promote yourself accordingly.

Every brand wants to be “industry-leading”, though this can only be claimed by companies who have a track record of success and innovation.

Provable

For building customer trust, newer businesses should aim for aspirational words to start with, but move into provable words as they grow and receive endorsements from their customers and press.

If you’ve been featured by a newspaper or won an industry award, make this social proof clearly visible on your website so that other people’s testimonials instantly assure new clients and help with building customer trust.

Social media feeds can also be embedded into pages to provide an ever-up-to-date account of how people are talking about your brand and products.

Passionate

Rather than stating that your brand is passionate, show that it is through your tone of voice. Demonstrate that you understand your customers’ needs, desires, and fears, then show that your company is emotionally understanding.

Many companies claim to be “disruptors” in their industry – they do so by having extensive knowledge of a problem or way things are done, showing this knowledge, and presenting themselves as an essential solution or improvement.

Effectively promoting your business starts with knowing your company’s mission statement and being able to adapt it to any situation. Different mediums can greatly affect how much time you have to make yourself memorable to a customer.

Company newsletters let you take your time and nurture your existing customers, while promotional gifts and ads need quick, striking language to be memorable and appeal to new consumers.

Someone can be drawn to, or put off by, your brand in an instant, so it’s vital to stay away from technical and clichéd language for building customer trust.

Isabell Neveux is director of marketing communications & product EMEA of ADLER Manufacturing

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