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[Guest post] 3 actionable strategies to help you build an authentic brand

Across the board, trust in institutions is fading. Last year, it was reported that Americans’ trust in organisations reached an all-time low – dropping 37% in just one year. It’s easy to see why this is happening. With data breaches from retail leaders such as Macy’s and Under Armour making headlines, it’s no surprise customers are losing faith in big-name brands.

This raises many concerns for less established retailers who rely on positive brand reputation and word of mouth to grow. It’s estimated that an unhappy customer could tell up to 15 friends if they have a negative experience with you. And, once word gets out, this can easily snowball into a lot of disgruntled customers turning to your competitors for a more authentic experience.

So how can we fix the confidence lost between customers and brands?

It starts by proving to your customers that you’re worth their time. Create an experience they want to be a part of and show that you understand their wants and needs. Pay attention to this, and you’ll naturally improve sales, cement emotional connections and increase the loyalty your customers exhibit to your brand.

In this post, LoyaltyLion and Feefo both share how to build trust through three key channels: user-generated content, customer sentiment and re-engagement strategies.

1. User-generated content

In a world of celebrity endorsements, sponsored posts and paid influencers, customers crave authenticity more than ever. 90% of millennials say authenticity is important to them when deciding the brands they support and 57% said that most brand-created content doesn’t resonate as authentic.

This is exactly why user-generated content (or UGC) has become so important. 60% of customers believe it to be the most authentic form of content because it comes from real people just like them. So how can you generate more authentic content across your site?

Experts in customer loyalty, LoyaltyLion, suggest using your loyalty program to gift points to customers in exchange for leaving reviews. Research shows a little social proof goes a long way with 84% of customers trusting online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations. Reviews act as a credible source of proof beyond the standard sales descriptions and images. Once a new customer believes that the representations of your products are genuine, they’ll trust you with their purchasing longer-term and recommend you to others.

Collecting feedback from your customers is one of the simplest but most effective forms of UGC and shows that you’re a brand willing to listen. Not only that, UGC’s greatest asset is that it’s immediately relatable and resonates with a younger generation. Feefo allows customers to upload photos and videos to their written reviews to bring them to life. This gives businesses access to genuine, eye-catching content that can be used across all kinds of marketing to increase engagement.

2. Customer sentiment

Your existing customers are your most honest critics. They are using your product every day and have nothing to lose if they flag an issue.

By listening to the opinions of your customers and understanding the emotions they feel when they engage with your brand, you can effectively tailor your online experience to meet their tastes. And, once a customer can see that you’ve listened to their suggestions they’ll feel like you care about what they have to say.

LoyaltyLion suggests looking deeper into your Net Promoter Scores and customer sentiment data to see if a common issue arises. You could then address the problem with a loyalty perk. If your delivery options are what’s getting customers talking, offer free shipping to customers who are in higher tiers of your loyalty program. Or, if a customer is talking about you negatively on social media, show them that you’re sorry by moving them up a loyalty tier. This gives them more special rewards to engage with.

When your customers feel like you’ve shown a willingness to own up to your mistakes and have listened to what they want, they’ll be more likely to talk about you positively to others. Not only that, but they’ll feel more loyal to your brand as they know you’ve invested the time to provide an experience that’s tailor-made with them in mind.

Dig a little deeper into the minds of your customers with AI tools such as Feefo’s Performance Profiling. These tools can automatically analyse your reviews, identify sentiment, and give you an at-a-glance view of the key issues that are affecting your customers. Tapping into this valuable insight means you can make smarter business decisions, and improve the -customer experience.

3. Re-engaging customers who are at-risk

Many stores find that they can do all the legwork to get a customer through the door, but they struggle to build a relationship and retain them long-term. With so much choice out there, a customer can easily stray and shop with a store they feel more connected with. Losing your customers after the first purchase can be damaging. Especially as it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain one. So how can you build trust with customers who are at risk of shopping elsewhere?

LoyaltyLion suggests using your loyalty data to identify which of your customers could be at-risk and why. Then, send them loyalty emails to remind them why they shopped with you in the first place.

This can be a great way to surprise and pique their interest before you lose them for the long-term. The emails could include personalised offers – such as product recommendations related to their first purchase – that show them that you understand them personally.

You could even communicate the customer’s points balance and the rewards they could be missing out on by not returning to your store. Annemarie Skin Care sends email reminders that show their customers that they have $5 worth of points waiting to be claimed.

 

Collecting customer feedback is a great way of making sure your customers can have their say. Although no one likes to receive a negative review, by identifying reasons that your customers may not want to do business with you again, you get the opportunity to rectify those issues and perhaps even win that customer back.

Understanding your audience is vital when it comes to customer loyalty. By collecting reviews with Feefo, you can begin to use in-depth insights to grow and improve on the relationships you already have.

What does this all mean?

Turns out, customers aren’t always looking for a brand that’s picture perfect. They much prefer a brand they know they can trust long-term and they’re willing to jump ship to find one that meets this expectation. So give the people what they want – an authentic, transparent brand they can have complete confidence in.

 

About LoyaltyLion

LoyaltyLion is a data-driven loyalty and engagement platform trusted by thousands of ecommerce brands worldwide. Merchants use LoyaltyLion when they want a fully customised loyalty program that is proven to increase customer engagement, retention and spend. Stores using LoyaltyLion typically generate at least $15 for every $1 they spend on the platform.