Who or what do consumers trust?

Building or maintaining trust with a customer is absolutely essential. It’s simply the factor that could make or break a sale. If a customer goes into a retail store and does not trust the sales person he or she is working with, chances are that customer will not buy a single item from either that representative or even the whole store. Same goes for online sales and purchasing items through social media channels. If a consumer feels like a company is not being trustworthy in an online transaction for whatever reason, that consumer will take their business elsewhere and most likely leave feedback. Trust goes a very long way and it is even harder to gain someone’s trust back.

I would say most of the time, consumers trust the people that they know personally such as family, friends, co-workers, etc. This is because it is simply easier for a customer to talk to someone that they already know to learn about new products or even to get a quick suggestion about multiple products or services. To take it a step further, consumers generally trust sources that are reliable and credible. So this could be a journal describing a product or an informed and unbiased sales representative. Also, consumers trust companies with high reputations from customer surveys. How does Apple retain customers? Well, one avenue is that they have excellent customer service, great products, and most importantly, customers feel very comfortable when purchasing Apple products with a sales person. Those kinds of interactions always have customers coming back for more because of great experiences.

According to a survey about trust, “The surveyed consumers feel more comfortable sharing data with retailers than with social networks.” This is because in a physical retail location, sharing information improves a shopping experience and the sales people can narrow down specifics on what customers want, need, and desire. On social media sites, consumer data could be more difficult to interpret (rather than a face to face conversation) therefore creating confusion on what the consumer actually needs. Another great point from an article I read is that the public has trouble trusting the current politicians and some business leaders. The percentage of people who trust these categories of people have gone down this year compared to past years. This is due to every politician slandering each other just to attain a vote from someone. This is the wrong way to approach the situation obviously; leaders should be looking out for people’s best interests and do what is right.

Here is an infographic that describes some other sources of trust regarding peer reviews:

http://www.socialmarketingforum.net/2012/08/do-consumers-trust-retailers-more-than-social-networks/

http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/31896.asp

http://www.digitalforreallife.com/2012/04/who-do-consumers-trust/

-John

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