There is one universal currency every business deals in – trust.
A trusted brand is a successful brand. Customers can rely on their comfort, consistency, and familiarity whenever they interact or make purchases. In fact, 81% of customers make purchases decisions based on trust.
That’s why bridging the trust gap is essential. Finding a way to build customer trust as a core capability within your brand will make it a formidable rival in today’s competitive business landscape.
Important stats about modern consumer trust
- 53% of consumers think trust in a company is the second most important factor after price. If you compete on price in your category, trust will be a key brand differentiator.
- 70% of consumers say trust in a brand is even more important today than in the past. In the past, trust was important to a brand. Research is now saying that trust is essential especially during the COVID climate.
- 1 in 3 consumers will stop buying preferred products if they lose trust in a brand. Wonder why attrition is running high? It may be due to a product change, leadership decision or data collection decision – resulting in loss of trust.
- 83% of consumers want to see a clear link between data they share and the direct benefits it provides them. A new and emerging area of brand trust is data trust. Brands must now be able to show customers that they are taking care of and protecting the data that they share.
Why you should earn customer trust and loyalty
You may have noticed that many brands have moved from retail to subscription models over the last few years. From on-demand content and to monthly wine deliveries, cultivating long-term relationships with repeat customers can prove more profitable.
With customer acquisition costs almost doubling over the past few years, there are even more reasons why you should focus your efforts on retaining customers over acquiring new ones.
Building trust and loyalty pay off in BIG ways:
- 82% purchase more frequently results in more sales
- 83% more referrals means growth of customer base/reduction in marketing spend
- Shoppers are likely to spend more, have larger carts and respond positively to upsells
Building confidence in your brand will lead to trust which leads to long-term loyalty.
5 ways SMS can foster customer confidence
Boundless tools already exist to help you build better relationships with your customers, but which should you pick? In one of our recent webinars, we looked at how online reviews can build trust in your brand. What remains vastly overlooked, however, is how the simple and affordable text message can help you cultivate loyalty and customer satisfaction faster.
1. Customer support
One of the most frustrating customer experiences is not getting immediate help from a business support team. How many times have you waited through annoying tele-prompts before you could speak to a human being? Even then, it may take several days, calls, or departments handling your query before it can be resolved.
Let’s talk about how SMS can make resolving support queries easier and faster.
In 2020, independent telecommunications business Port Networks were looking for another channel to help customers with technical queries. Agents were finding themselves inundated with queries over the phone and often required customers to call back multiple times which was inconvenient.
Founder Hugh Bethell noted an increasing interest in SMS chat (two-way text conversations between an agent and customer) among the younger generations as a communication solution.
Not only was SMS universal, easy to access, and familiar to most; it allowed customers to reply at their own pace. It also allowed agents to field multiple queries at once.
As a result, customer support queries were resolved much faster than when they were communicated via phone or email. In fact, support queues and resolution times were cut by a whopping 50% resulting in much happier and loyal customers.
2. Helpful reminders and alerts
Be customer-centric. Get on the front foot with customers by precipitating what products and services they’ll need before they need them.
Think about life today – it’s only getting busier with longer working hours and greater pressures to perform. Many brands are trying to alleviate these stresses by prompting customers with helpful reminders and alerts.
Here are a few examples:
- Hair salons reminding customers about product replacement. Hi there! Your hair conditioner is about to run out. To order a new one…
- Medical clinics confirming appointments. Your booking has been confirmed for September 8th at 2.30 PM.
- Restaurants reminding you about an upcoming reservation. REMINDER: You have an early-bird dinner booking with us at 5:00 PM. Please be prompt on your arrival.
You can also use proactive alerts to forewarn clientele about outages or issues with your business in the near future. Port Networks started using SMS to prepare customers for planned outages which significantly reduced their support queries.
Using SMS alerts and reminders will also benefit your business. For example, no-shows to service businesses cost a significant amount of resources, time, and money. Automating SMS reminders and alerts can drastically reduce no-shows and ensure consistent profit goes back into your business.
3. Customer feedback
When we talked to the experts on trust, we touched on how customer feedback can positively impact loyalty. When new customers are doing research on a quality product with multiple offerings, they will look to customer feedback first.
Establishing a good cadence of customer feedback is important to build up reputation and trust in what you offer. However, one of the hardest facets to face in customer feedback is acquiring this feedback.
After an order arrives from a food delivery app, do you notice that you will often be asked to review the restaurant half an hour later? As we learned in our webinar on trust, you’re being asked during your ‘happiest’ brand moment for feedback.
This might be after someone has eaten their food or opened your package or is about to pay for your services. At their happiest, customers are more likely to make the effort to gush about your product and customer service.
Every ‘happy’ moment is different – and there may be more than one!
Why not use push notifications then? Not every business has an app to send push notifications on, and your customers may have muted notifications. This is where text can provide a solution.
Finding the right time to grab your customer is only half the game. Text messages are often used in situations that demand immediate attention. If you send a review request via email, they might only see it two days or a week later – well past their ‘happy’ moment. You want to get their immediate attention and trigger a fast response.
RELATED: Watch our interactive webinar with government engagement specialists Bang the Table to see SMS-driven feedback in action.
4. Digital security
With increasing cyberattacks, many businesses and brands are taking extra steps to protect their data. This is called data trust. If a customer knows you’re looking after them, they are far less likely to go with another provider.
A very popular way of doing this is with multi-factor authentication.
Multi or two-factor authentication (aka 2FA) simply adds an extra step when logging in that compels a user to confirm their identity in another way. 2FA often, but not always, relies on phone numbers and SMS to do this by sending out a one-time password or code when you log in.
As mobile phones are often tied to a single individual, this is a reliable and easy way for customers to confirm their identity when logging in. This can be used in many other ways such as confirming password resets and more.
5. Loyalty promotions and referral networks
One of the easiest ways to build confidence is by reinforcing customer retention with current advocates. As we stated earlier, loyal customers are much more likely to encourage friends and family to buy too. Think about all of the brands you like – how many of them have you shared with your community? According to Nielsen, 92% of people trust recommendations from their family and friends over other channels.
Many businesses already benefit from valuable VIP and loyalty programs that induce strong loyalty.
First, reward loyal or VIP customers with something you know they’ll appreciate. Makeup brands could offer a holy grail product, fashion brands could offer a limited-edition shirt, sports brands could offer a special experience. It really depends on what your customers will find special, and what you can afford!
After they’ve received their gifts, ask loyal fans to share a special referral link with their friends.
There are numerous ways to build promotional text campaigns that tie into referral or loyalty marketing campaigns. For example, you might send out a text campaign encouraging current customers to join your VIP club by encouraging them to bring five friends on board. Get creative!
Final thoughts, further reading
We’re not done yet! While the use cases for using SMS to build loyalty are varied, there are 7 top text features to use when building brand loyalty. Stay tuned for this next feature!
Make sure to also check out:
- Get started with SMS marketing with our handy guide
- 5 tips to avoid your texts being mistaken for a smishing scam
- Learn how to prepare your contact database before you send