Customers trust your brand when their experience meets their expectation of your brand. Trust is a key factor when persuading your customers to purchase online and customers are more likely to purchase online from a familiar and trusted brand.
The key stages for developing trust in a brand are:
1. Initial brand perception: This forms the customer's / user's initial trust in the brand, which is the key element that determines whether a customer / user decides to visit a site. The brand perception is based on the indirect experience (through advertising, marketing communication and social media) and direct brand experience, which both need to be consistent and reflective of brand values. The direct experience of using a site has a stronger influence over the customer's / user's brand perception than the perception that is based on advertising and marketing communication only.
2. Digital branded customer / user experience: A positive and successful brand experience would develop and enhance the customer’s / user’s trust in the brand and help to persuade them to make a purchase.
The factors for designing a successful digital branded customer / user experience are:
- Content and functionality: need to be relevant, up-to-date, interactive and personalised. To have good online customer service include FAQs, guides, contact us details, and live chats. In addition, brands need to have content that enhances credibility and trust worthiness e.g. customer testimonials, product / service ratings and reviews.
- Branding: the visual brand identity (logo, typography, colours and graphic elements), brand tone of voice and brand personality need to be consistent across all channels to effectively communicate the brand and for brand recognition.
- Good user experience (UX) design: the site needs to be easy to use and to navigate with consistent look and feel providing an interactive and personalised experience that reflects the brand values. For brands that offer e-commerce, they should have easy ordering with flexible shipping options, no hidden costs, privacy protection and security.
3. Post-purchase customer experience: Good product / service quality and customer service e.g. efficient delivery and easy returns would further enhance the customer’s / user’s trust in the brand.
4. Brand relationship and loyalty: delivering consistently successful brand experiences lead to customers having brand relationship and loyalty. Loyal customers become advocates for brands and help to persuade potential customers to develop trust in the brand with their blogs, product ratings / reviews and word of mouth recommendations.
To persuade your customers to develop and maintain trust in your brand, it is all about integration, which requires all the various parts of your business to work together to enable you to deliver a successful brand experience that is integrated and consistently reflective of your brand values, across all your brand interactions / touchpoints.