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Trust: The Ultimate Metric of Customer Engagement

As companies, we constantly look for ways to acquire new customers, boost average spend, capture greater share of wallet, and the list goes on. Ultimately, though isn’t our fundamental quest to garner trust from our customers? Because with trust comes loyalty, affinity and advocacy. And that is the greatest measurement of all. Now thanks to social media, customer engagement (one of the straightest roads to customer trust) has been opened.

According to the 2009 Nielsen Global Consumer Survey, 90% of consumers trusted recommendations from friends and 70% trusted consumer opinions posted online. Brand websites came in at 70% as well, indicating that consumer trust may still be something that smart companies can affect. As you think about how you as a company are building your customer trust, consider these key factors:
The Big Picture
You can’t just wake up one day and decide you’re all about customer trust. You’ve got a history and built a reputation that has brought you to where you are today. So take a hard look at how you’ve conducted business over the long haul and determine what level of customer trust you already have today. You might have a solid foundation to build from, or you may find that it’s been rocky. Knowing your starting point will help you formulate your strategy going forward.
Talk the Talk
Open up a two-way dialogue with your customers. Not only will you discover how they perceive you as a company, but you also open the opportunity to communicate on a regular basis and earn customer trust. Social media is an ideal way to start the conversation, show customers that you care and position yourself as a company that is worthy of their trust and endorsement.
Become Connected
If consumers ultimately trust their friends and online reviewers the most, then put yourself in a position to be “referable.” Engage customers in interactive polls, quizzes, contest, or in other ways that encourage them to share their interaction with you among their friends. The next thing you know you’re a trending topic in a good way. Little by little, your consumer trust edges higher.
As you craft your 2012 marketing strategies, consider how customer trust factors into your initiatives. If you can integrate it across all your channels in some way, then you should be able to see it tangibly impact your customer relationships and ultimate loyalty.

Sallie Burnett
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