Trust: Be accessible

Trust is core to a successful business, if nobody trusts you then why would they spend money with you? This week I want to talk about building trust with customers and potential customers in a 5 part email series.

Communication is core to trust. Customers are going to have queries which will want answering and your team needs to be available – quickly and efficiently. If not you will lose credibility as customers will not trust you’re there for them.

Here are the top five ways companies make themselves accessible?

1. Maintain regular interaction

Start by spending time understanding customers to gain insight for content that will have impact. Next we need to create company rules explaining how you will maintain communication with the customer. Only now can we apply tactics such as writing a blog, creating a mailing list, publishing social media updates, writing regular consumer interest reports,  delivering webinars, releasing youtube video updates, building an app that sends push notifications, press releases, research papers etc…

2. Answer questions

Have a number of ways that your customer can get answers. This could be through a Q&A page, a contact us page, direct phone communication or online chat.

Fast response times, quality answers, consistent responses and lots of delivery methods are key.

3. Get other people to answer questions for you

Using your community to help respond to questions… they are your best advocates and supporters! Here you could setup things like public forums or product reviews/testimonies. Consider… why do you buy from a site that has great reviews …?

4. Specific points of contact for all enquiry types

Make the customer feel like they always know how to get in touch with you.

What do you do when you have a question or a problem? Go to the website/contact us page, bottom of a utility bill, customer helpline… direction is given to get you to the right place to get the best support possible. Take the example of booking a cinema ticket by phone, you are greeted with a list of numbers to direct you to the best person or option to support your need, these VOIP systems can be setup easily by small companies in 2018.

… Make it very clear how and where they need to go to get dedicated support.

5. Organise events so people can meet you in person

Having a face to a name always reassures people. We recently attended MW live – a massive marketing conference, meeting companies and talking to them about their products and services. It was a great way to learn about the marketing space and the people which make things happen in their companies. Why not find some events that best reflect your industry and say hello to potential customers and competitors?

You are 1 in 5.7 million <3

You are competing with 5.7 million UK businesses selling products and services, you need to stand out to get custom. Marketing yourself is hard, with endless advertising platforms and huge levels of competition. It’s proven that the more a customer sees your business the more they grow to trust you (Gaining customer trust is something I will be going into further in my next blog). So, not only do we need to grab the attention of our customers but we need to keep it.

So how can we do this? There are a number of ways that you can expose yourself to potential customers; today I am going to discuss customers signing up for an email list or newsletter on your site. Being given the permission to deliver newsletters, blog posts, updates directly into your customers inbox, reminding them of how wonderful you are is an excellent way to drip feed your business. You are also able to show that you are deeply knowledgeable and skilful as well as demonstrate your ability to do what you say you do – ultimately gaining your customers’ trust.

So, you need to give visitors an incentive to hand over their contact details. The offer of a free newsletter was once enough to entice the most cynical web visitor to give you a name and email address but those days are over. Your offer needs to be something that your visitors really want and consider worth having, like an information guide or software trial. A good newsletter provides long term, ongoing value.

Our websites is a great example (with many better out there too).

source: /c/grow-online-with-technology/

Not only is our page simple, clear and easy to navigate (refer to previous blog post on landing pages) it offers you ‘Free lifetime membership’ to our mailing list giving marketing and tech insights, and a downloadable ‘free quickstart strategy guide’ to support growing business. All we are asking for is your name and email- no fuss.

Unfortunately, with so much competition out there, companies are becoming desperate to get potential customers email address’ that they will resort to anything – including annoying techniques in the hope of extracting customer data. Techniques including irritating overlays you can’t close, constant pop-up windows, manipulative wording designed to badger you into signing up…the list goes on. All of this and no real incentive to hand over your details anyway. 

Newsletters should focus on educating the reader. That may come in the form of helping users select the best product for them or teaching them a new skill. A newsletter should inform, not only sell. This is reflected in how we encourage people to sign up…

source: /c/grow-online-with-technology/

There are many examples of ineffective sign up pages that offer no incentive or reason for customers to hand over their details. Below is just one, with a great example of incorrectly placed call to action that is right at the bottom of the page and no reward to incentivise the customer giving their contact details. As well as this, It makes little sense to subscribe to a newsletter for a law firm (why would anyone ever signup to a newsletter for a law firm?) In contrast, if they were to offer a free consultation, or call back to schedule a consultation, for example, they could then continue to stay in touch. A law firm could also pick a key specialty, for example business law. They would then be in the perfect position to offer a newsletter keeping businesses up to date critical legal developments that may effect them in the future.

The web has evolved to be truly more social. Which means businesses need to evolve too. Reciprocity is a social norm that must be adhered to online just as it’s adhered in person. In short, you cannot expect to profit from someone’s personal details without giving something of value back. Simple.

Why I’ll leave your website immediately…

Its not called an internet ‘Browser’ for nothing…. you are competing for the glances of potential customers and you have to do so in a matter of seconds (maximum of 10 seconds to be precise, see graph). Not only do you need to catch customer attention visually but customers need to understand what you are selling almost instantly. If not clear they will move on…

It is important that you look at your website from an outsiders perspective and look to see if it’s instantly clear what you’re offering.

 

Weibull hazard function showing the probability that users will leave a Web page at time t if they have already stayed for t seconds.

source: https://www.nngroup.com/articles/how-long-do-users-stay-on-web-pages/

This said, as users hurry on through page after page, they have little time to read much more than a quarter of the text on the pages they actually visit. So, you can see how important it is that your page is clear and concise as little of what you say on your website will be read.

A great example of a website which captures attention and clearly states it’s value proposition can be seen below:

 

source: https://www.blogger.com

‘Blogger’ have managed to very quickly make it clear to the potential customer what it is that they do, starting by making it about the customer….’publish your passions, your way’… they relate their product to the viewer and then explain, very clearly, what they offer… ‘create a unique and beautiful blog. It’s easy and free’. 

In contrast…

 

source: https://www.jigoshop.com/

This webpage is unclear and inefficient. You are greeted by a pop-up (tip: do not be tempted by pop-ups… all they truly do is annoy your prospective customer). You are then looking straight at a page full of specialist language that a large majority of viewers will not understand. Not only is there more writing than one could read within the magic 10 seconds, but most of these will mean very little to them….

So… in summary, keep it simple, keep it clear, keep it personable…