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customer loyalty

How to Gain Long-Lasting Customer Loyalty and Trust in Your Brand

Rhys Williams
By Rhys Williams — May 17, 2024 -

Read time: 4 mins

To get your customers to identify with your brand, investing not just their money but their emotions and feelings in your brand, you have to get them to trust you. 

But how do you do that?

In a world where consumers are hyper-aware of data and privacy issues and hold the brands they shop with to a high ethical standard, you have a serious job of work to do to get them to trust you. 

 

Build trust by building loyalty

Building trust and building customer loyalty go hand in hand. Building genuine loyalty, where customers feel a strong emotional connection to a brand, is a powerful driver of trust. If you can forge a deep emotional connection, rest assured, your customers will be more than willing to place their trust in you. 

 

Main reasons customer trust is important for business growth

  1. Customer Retention: Building customer trust and loyalty ensures customers keep coming back, reducing the cost of acquiring new ones.
  2. Referrals: Satisfied customers recommend your brand, bringing in new clients at a lower cost.
  3. Brand Loyalty: Customer trust and loyalty deepens emotional connections, resulting in higher customer lifetime value.
  4. Reduced Marketing Costs: Trusted brands rely less on paid advertising as happy customers spread the word.
  5. Positive Reputation: Trust leads to positive reviews and strengthens your brand's market position as you build customer confidence.

    In short, building customer trust is essential for fostering loyalty, lowering costs, and driving sustainable growth.

 

5 magic moves to build customer loyalty and trust

In many cases, building trust is about getting the basics right. Just think about what you value in the brands you most identify with and you’ve probably got a pretty good idea of what it takes to get customers to trust you.

Here's how to establish trust with customer:

 

  1. Be transparent and honest: Include clear product information and pricing, and don't try to hide costs like shipping or taxes. Be upfront about terms and conditions, return policies, and guarantees. This honesty extends to your marketing campaigns: customers expect you to highlight the benefits of your products in marketing communications but don’t exaggerate or make unsubstantiated claims.
  2. Provide excellent customer service: Offer multiple channels for customer support (like phone, email, chat). A strong after-sales service that can quickly handle returns, exchanges, and complaints goes a long way to building trust and will mark you out from the crowd. 
  3. Create engaging content: Content that adds value beyond selling products is a fantastic way to show customers your care. Thoughtful content - whether that’s an Instagram post or a how-to guide on your site - allows you to connect emotionally with customers, sharing your values and the stories behind products.
  4. Be reliable and consistent:  To really build trust, all touchpoints that customers interact with need to be reliable, easy to navigate, and consistently updated. Make sure you display accurate stock levels and refresh content regularly. 
  5. Be ethical: Your business practices need to be ethical and sustainable. Find causes that align with your brand, get involved with them, and share your ethical commitments with customers. 

 

Building trust with loyalty programmes

Loyalty schemes can play a significant role in building trust, but their effectiveness largely depends on how they are implemented and perceived by customers. 

When loyalty programs offer genuine value through rewards, discounts, exclusive offers, or early access to products, customers are more likely to trust and feel valued by the brand. Experiential rewards can also be a great way to establish an emotional connection with your customers. 

To build trust with a loyalty scheme, customers should feel confident that the points or rewards they earn will be honoured and that the rules won’t change unexpectedly. Consistency in how the program is administered reinforces trust over time.

Using data from loyalty programs to personalise experiences, offers, and communications can enhance trust by showing customers that the brand understands their preferences and values their business.

However, loyalty programmes can have the opposite effect if not carefully managed. Poorly implemented loyalty programmes can suffer from:

 

  • Perceived manipulation: If customers feel that the program is designed to manipulate their buying behaviour rather than reward their loyalty, it can break, rather than enhance, trust.
  • Complexity: Overly complex systems for earning or redeeming rewards can frustrate customers, potentially harming their trust in your brand.
  • Lack of differentiation: If a loyalty program is very similar to those offered by competitors and does not offer distinctive benefits, it may fail to create a compelling reason for customers to engage.
  • Overly-generous Incentives: To persuade new customers that your loyalty programmes are worthwhile, you have to offer incentives. But some give too much away, which, aside from the obvious impact on margins, attracts the wrong kind of customers - those highly-transactional bargain seekers who you’ll struggle to build a relationship of mutual trust with.

If loyalty programmes are used to nurture a deeper relationship - such as through members-only content, special events, or community-building activities - they can strengthen emotional connections. Incorporate loyalty programmes into your overall marketing strategy to build real customer loyalty and trust. 

 

How an advocacy marketing strategy accelerates your efforts

Advocacy marketing can significantly enhance your efforts to build trust with your customers. When your most enthusiastic customers share their positive experiences, it lends authenticity and credibility to your brand. Unlike traditional advertising, advocacy is rooted in genuine satisfaction from real customers.

The power of advocacy marketing lies in the natural human tendency to trust peer recommendations over corporate messaging. When people see real customers advocating for your products, it convinces them your brand is trustworthy. 

That’s why Mention Me has created the Customer Advocacy Intelligence Platform. With it, you can see what customers are doing to promote your brand and where, when and how you can intervene to build loyalty and trust with them and take a strategic approach to nurturing your customers into brand fans. 

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