Building Customer Trust: Take Time to Follow Up and Use Data to Understand Your Customers

word 'trust' over illustration of agent with headset and lines of email icon, information icon, communication and CSAT

Building Customer Trust: Take Time to Follow Up and Use Data to Understand Your Customers

Customers want to be served. To know how to serve them you need to know who they are and how their expectations have evolved. Data shows that dividing lines have changed and the desire for honesty and reliability is at the forefront. Building customer trust requires follow up and understanding your customer preferences.

Maintaining Trust with Follow Up

If the only time you connect with your customers is when they have a problem that is a problem. 

An example of reliability and maintenance of trust is follow up. An agent staying in the chat with a customer until they receive the confirmation email they just sent or until they successfully log in show a commitment to resolution.

A survey or email asking the customer if they are satisfied or still need assistance lets customers know they are valued.

Follow ups asking if an expected refund has been received, discount has been applied or the like, are other examples.

The resolution of a customer issue goes beyond the initial time spent in chat or email with a customer service agent. These additional points of connection aren’t just additional costs.  They’re opportunities for collecting valuable data that enhances personalization which in turn improves CX and NPS

Furthermore, this data helps you define your ideal customer profile and hone your customer service strategy to service them.

Life Stages, Generations and Varied Expectations

Customers have different expectations not only based on generation but on their stage in life. Like with investing, various levels of risk suit different customers. 

More traditional established people who prefer less change may have brands they stick with because they are comfortable with them. These people are less interested in trends and don’t want to go through the effort of trying new brands. Some customers would rather stay with a service they are familiar with even if a new brand would be a better fit. However, data shows that these traditionalists are not as large of a group as you might think.

Adventurous people who embrace change are more likely to shop around or try new things. In surveys Gen Z and Millennials are more interested in identifying companies that share their values but, this is a lifestyle choice not just a generational one.

Age is Just a Number

In building customer trust it’s important not to lump customers together by age alone. The over 55 market in the US is predominantly made up of active people who have 70% of the total wealth and represent 40% of total customer spend. 

Age of Majority conducts research and consults specifically on the 55+ consumer market. Their research has busted myths about older consumers. One myth is brand loyalty. 52% of those surveyed are up for changing brands, especially regarding appliances, electronics, packaged food and shoes. 

Another myth they have debunked is that older people are technologically limited. They found over 90% buy and bank online and own a smartphone. If you’re not marketing to this sizable group based on outdated thinking you could be missing out on a large segment of the population with considerable buying power.

This highlights the importance of identifying your customer base and using the data to service them effectively. No company can be everything to everyone. It isn’t realistic, especially for smaller companies. It is a better use of funds to focus on your key demographics and offer them the kind of service they want.

Honesty, Trust, Reliability

One thing many customers agree on is that being able to rely on a company is key. A study from the UK of 1,000 consumers showed honesty as the trait most desired in a brand

MicKinsey’s Consumer Expectations Survey 2021 revealed similar findings with transparency, honesty and consistency being of highest value among all groups surveyed. 

Gartner’s 2019 Brand Trust Survey showed 81% of customers will not buy from a brand they don’t trust and 89% would leave a brand if their trust was violated.

So how do you build and maintain customer trust? The data provides insight.

Building Customer Trust

Our final point comes from Carlos Guerrero, Senior Director, Advisory, Gartner, who summed up their findings of what creates trust with: “Caring is good, authentic is better, but dependable is best.”

In other words, a company makes trust connections with their customers when they routinely show they can be relied upon.

Empathy and alignment with stated values are important, but reliability trumps both.