The way we perceive businesses (and their motivations, likeability, honesty, dependability…) has a big impact on our purchasing decisions.
But these decisions are subjective and often come down to how much we trust a company at a particular moment in time.
And our 2022 State of the Connected Customer report shows this is particularly relevant right now.
We spoke to almost 17,000 customers, including more than 650 respondents from the UAE. And from what they’ve told us, trust is a vital factor in how they pick companies to do business with.
In fact, 76% of customers in the UAE say digitalisation has made trust more important than ever before. Understandable, when you consider the amount of personal information submitted to businesses during a transaction.
To be successful, companies need to secure their positions in the good books of their customers and potential customers. And that means building up a digital reputation rooted in trust.
Personal interactions, secondhand anecdotes, and appearances in the press and on social media all impact how much individuals trust a company.
Trust makes a big difference in whether people choose to engage with you and your company or not. But only 49% of customers in the UAE say they generally trust companies (compared to 52% globally). This means there’s an opportunity for businesses everywhere (but especially in the UAE) to benefit by building greater customer trust.
Now, there are tons of ways trust can be built in a business relationship.
Among other things, customers need to trust a business will:
Protect their personal information and data.
Use that data for good purposes (such as providing or improving services).
Care about their needs and wants (and try to meet them).
Help them if something goes wrong in the process.
So, how can businesses go about building their reputation as a trusted enterprise? Let’s take a look at what customers in the UAE expect.
The number of exposés and data scandals people have seen over the past few years has made data security and privacy a big concern.
67% of customers in the UAE say they’re comfortable with companies using relevant personal information transparently and beneficially. But the majority (71%) believe most companies aren't transparent about how they use their customers’ personal information.
To combat this, help customers understand how you use their data to improve processes and services – all for their benefit. With 78% of customers saying they're more likely to trust a company with personal information if its use is clearly explained, this can make a big difference.
Nearly all (97%) surveyed customers in the UAE say being treated as a person is somewhat or very important in building trust. So, provide thoughtful, personalised service, and incorporate what you know about the customer into the recommendations and communications you send to them.
(This isn’t a nice-to-have: more than half (57%) say they lose trust in companies when they receive communications that don’t match their interests or needs.)
It also means being empathetic about how customers experience your services.
Fragmented customer service journeys – often a result of data silos and a lack of data visibility – break customer trust in your business. A huge 90% of customers in the UAE say they’re more loyal to companies that provide consistent interactions. And 70% lose trust in companies when there's a lack of consistency across touchpoints.
These days, people will touch your brand across several channels – and each touchpoint will add to (or detract from) how they perceive your business.
But it’s not just about creating those seamless, personalised experiences. Customers expect you to walk your talk wherever you are. Consider that 96% of UAE-based customers say demonstrating good values is somewhat or very important to building trust.
This applies to behaviour behind the scenes too. People are influenced by how companies treat their employees: 62% of buyers say how employees are treated significantly impacts buying decisions.
No business is perfect: at some point, somewhere, something will go wrong. But how the business deals with the situation can make or break customer trust.
In the UAE, 97% say a business’s willingness to resolve issues proactively is somewhat or very important in building trust. And 96% say that proactive communication on the part of the business is equally important.
So, if anything goes wrong, be accountable and act quickly to resolve the issue. Don’t attempt to cover up the mistake either: 76% of customers in the UAE say honest and transparent communication is very important in building corporate trust.
Knowing you need to build trust is only half the battle. You also need to know how to do it.
True personalisation – and consistent customer experiences – are key to building trust. But that’s difficult to achieve without the right data platform
That’s where Salesforce Customer 360 comes in. Customer 360 provides businesses with a single, shared view of their customers. This means businesses can grow customer trust and loyalty by using their data to offer a frictionless customer experience, empathetic personalisation, and consistency across all channels.
Which is essential for building long-term trust.
But this isn’t all that matters to customers. (Though it is incredibly important.) Trust is only the tip of the iceberg.