Simple ways you can add credibility to your business
You never get a second chance at a first impression.
Whether you are B2B, B2C, C2B or C2C, the long-term success of your business is directly related to your reputation. When people engage with your business for the first time, their first impression will not only determine their future purchasing behaviours, but also that of their co-workers, friends and family.
Today, you also have platforms like social media, review sites and forums to worry about – where people can instantly share their views on your business to a worldwide audience. This unprecedented level of connectivity gives your customers the power to both elevate and destroy your brand in a matter of minutes, making it more important than ever to understand and monitor how your business interacts with the outside world.
Building trust and credibility is an essential part of your business strategy and something that will have a direct impact on your bottom line.
So how should you build trust? What can you do in order for people to consider your business as credible and reliable? Here, we take a look at the top tactics you can use across your organisation to ensure your best foot is always put forward.
Get to know your customer
Be clear on how your products and services are invaluable. What are your unique selling points (USPs)? What do your customers value most about your service? Do you have statistics to back these claims? (If you need help in gathering and analysing this data, the University of Notre Dame, Illinois professor Dr Joe Urbany shares his practical insights here).
Very few businesses are one of a kind. Unless you can pinpoint what makes your business unique in an abundant world of competitors, you cannot target your sales efforts successfully. It’s easy to fall in love with your own product or service, forgetting why your customers truly need you and why they chose you instead if your competitors. You don’t operate in a vacuum, so asking your customers for feedback and getting them involved in your business in a positive way will generate positive results. You can’t build credibility without your audience.
An engaged and happy customer will always be your best advocate. Customer-generated reviews are a form of social proof and are tremendously influential in persuading people to convert. 72% of buyers say positive reviews make them trust a business more (BrightLocal ‘14), while 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation (BrightLocal ’14). In the instance of reviews both the quantity and quality matter. Reviews have the ability to provide a large amount of information which allow customers to base their decision (HBR).
There are two ways in which customer reviews are executed online –
- Internal word of mouth (WOM): Reviews found on your own website. These are most commonly seen on ‘About Us’ pages, sales/landing pages and dedicated product pages.
- External WOM: Reviews located on third party sites such as Facebook, Google, Yelp, Reddit and other specialised forums. Remember, people can talk about your brand on more platforms than just review sites. It’s important to understand which sites your audience engages with and whose opinions matter to them.
In addition, you can turn reviews into revenue – if you do not take the time to analyse your online reviews for business insights, you are missing half their value. Analysing and carefully dissecting all of your reviews can further enforce your USP’s.
Know your brand
This particular point is key to credibility. A brand, like a product or a website, is never truly “done”.
Does your company have a defined brand strategy in place? I.e:
Brand vision: Where is your business going? Goals? How is your business going to make an impact?
Purpose: What is the fundamental purpose behind your business that inspires those inside and outside of your organisation?
Position: What is the idea that you own in the consumer’s mind? What question do you answer that no one else can?
Promise: Are you keeping the promises you make? What does that mean exactly? What makes your target market believe your promise?
Effective branding is important from two perspectives –
a) The employee
Employees want to work for a company that they are proud of. One that has a clearly defined purpose and adheres to set values that create a positive company culture. This needs to be reflected in all areas of the business, even down to the workspace you choose to work in. Your environment has a direct impact on your happiness, productivity, creativity and your ability to connect to your co-workers, both socially and professionally. The multinational travel company, Agoda, recently increased employee morale in their Melbourne team substantially by moving to a more inspiring workspace.
- b) Customer/Client
Branding is also important from a (potential) customer point of view. Having a clear message and an easily-recognised visual presence makes you more memorable in the minds of your potential customers. It takes an average of 8 touch points before you even qualify a person as a lead, so don’t make their life harder by having inconsistent and messy communications.
For the whole lifespan of your customer journey, your brand messaging must seamlessly carry them from lead to customer, from customer to repeat customer, and from repeat customer to company advocate.
If you are in a position where you meet face to face with a potential customer, your choice of environment is a crucial and sometimes overlooked part of this dynamic. In a traditional office environment, spaces are not always designed to meet the needs of the modern professional. If you are pitching a multi-million-dollar deal in a dark and dingy meeting room in the basement of your building, is it likely that you will win the contract? Absolutely not. Trustworthiness, dependability, professionalism and sophistication are all things that can be evoked through your choice of workspace. It is about finding the right space to ensure your business conveys the right message to your potential customers.
The co-working or agile workspace industry has seen significant growth in the past few years and has earned its share of negative public opinions. Some argue that these spaces are too casual, noisy to the point of distraction and run by employees that do not care for your business or your customers. However, these kinds of businesses only reflect one part of the market. Professional, premium workspaces, such as Work Club, are specifically tailored to those businesses who value professionalism, high-quality service and discerning networks. Our locations are carefully designed, functional environments and are run by team members that are trained to reflect and meet the needs of a professional organisation, providing spaces that immediately feel like home. They are the perfect backdrop for any organisation, providing seamless experiences with minimal intrusion so you can remove the stress of office management and focus instead on what’s most important for your business.
Create a great personalised experience.
Simple, intuitive and flexible. B2C organisations have always been focused on providing great user experiences but now more than ever the same expectation applies to B2B organisations. You have the opportunity to increase your average sale by 16% just for providing a better customer experience. Commonly, price or product quality was thought to be the significant differentiator BUT experience is, in fact, more important to customers in the B2B space.
Customer experience is built from every touch point a customer has with your business/brand. From the first phone call they have with you to your office space, all elements contribute to their perception and overall experience. Every interaction the customer has should be positive and make them feel valued. It takes effort from all individuals in the organisation to build trust and meet the needs of the customer.
- Practice what you preach: Walk the talk
You can’t establish yourself as a credible leader if you are not willing to walk the talk. Honesty builds credibility for a business of any size, make it a common practice to run your business as a trustworthy organisation. Keeping all of your communication with customers, suppliers, and team genuine and honest will establish your trustworthiness as a business and business owner.
In an age of the trust economy, credibility has become everything. Spend time establishing and maintaining your credibility, your business depends on it.