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Trust will drive consumer loyalty in 2021

In a world filled with distrust and discord, building and maintaining brand trust will be more important than ever in 2021’s customer service equation. Companies offering and delivering on trust promises will see increased customer loyalty and longevity along with beneficial effects of positive reviews and word-of-mouth.

Companies coming up short in the trust arena will see revenues come up short as well. When comparing and contrasting choices, consumers will naturally gravitate to trustworthy companies whose performance matches up with promises.

Proliferation of pandemic challenges and a barrage of fake news at so many levels have made consumers that much more motivated to find a trust oasis in a desert of disbelief and despair.

An Edelman Trust Report about brand trust and the pandemic examines core issues contributing to trust assessments. Notes the Report: “This global crisis will fundamentally change how we think, behave, and consume…The new world will have trust at its core, with the brand mandate expanded to solve problems for all, protect all, care for all, collaborate with all and innovate in the public interest….the public wants brands to step up, keep us safe, guide us and help us. Brands that act in the interest of their employees, stakeholders and society at large will reinforce their expertise, leadership and trust and immeasurably strengthen the bond they have with consumers.”

Brands that don’t build this trust connection will lose the customer relationship forever, the Report points out, adding: “Sixty-five percent of respondents said that a brand’s response in the crisis will have a huge impact on their likelihood of purchasing it in the future. Sixty percent said that they are turning to brands that they absolutely can trust…there is great risk to brands that are perceived to be acting unsympathetically. One-third of respondents have already convinced other people to stop using a brand that was not acting appropriately.”

As part of this trust-building and continuation, brands must prioritize solutions over selling, notes the Report. Fully 84% of respondents “…said they want brand advertising to focus on how brands help people cope with pandemic-related life challenges.”

Education to enhance protection is another key component. The report emphasizes that, “People want brands to use their power to educate (85 percent). That means offering instructional information about how to protect themselves…People want to know that the brand is helping (89 percent) and how they can best access its product and services (88 percent).”

Trust will continue to grow in importance as a key criterion for doing business with a company. As it becomes more prevalent in the decision-making process, trust also will propel companies forward to do business in ways that benefit all stakeholders, not just shareholders.

That’s a customer service win-win.

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While 2020 was a challenging year, customer service changes bolstered by pandemic consequences actually have strengthened positive outcomes. Remote work environments, increased empathy and initiatives implemented to weather the storm have contributed to making and keeping customers happy more consistently. As success stories have spread through social media, mainstream media, word-of-mouth and reviews, companies are adopting measures that have proven successful elsewhere. More companies are discovering what enlightened enterprises have known for years: taking great care of customers benefits both reputation and revenues.

Mark Lusky

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Mark Lusky
mark@marklusky.com

Mark Lusky (aka The Happy Curmudgeon)
is the owner of a Denver-based marketing communications firm. He’s a veteran writer, storyteller and author, with 40+ years of public relations, advertising, marketing and journalism experience, and author of A Wandering Wondering Jew… and co-author of Don’t Get Mad, Get Leverage.

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