Our last newsletter featured a ‘buzzwords’ blog and the word authentic was picked apart for its ironic manufactured term to mean genuine.
The COVID-19 crisis has seen people and organisations show their true colours, and if the walk doesn’t match the talk, the stories and messages they shared during good times can seem very inauthentic, and in turn can lose customer loyalty.
We’ve seen some real blunders from insensitive announcements, through to deadpan communications, from various organisations who are not putting much thought or authenticity into their content – many of whom should know better.
Why does it matter? Well, once you lose a loyal follower it’s twice as hard to win them back than it is to acquire new customers in the first place.
Remember a few key points when trying to build or rebuild trust with your audience:
Own up to your role
Whether you’re making your first appearance in front of your audience (i.e. first Facebook post) or needing to address a mistake, it’s important to be transparent and share who you really are, what your organisation stands for and why.
Make an apology plan
Mistakes will happen, be ready. Make a plan of who will front the apology, explore where you went wrong and tailor your apology – the more genuine you are, the better your audience will resonate with your acknowledgement.
You need to accept responsibility when a mistake is made and accept the responsibility that you have to be genuine with your audience. If you say you’re going to do something, then do it. The more open and honest you are, the more trust you can build.
If you truly value the input from your customers, team and stakeholders, it’s important to actively listen and act on their valuable feedback. Something as simple as inviting them to have a say in a product or decision will allow a personable approach and gain authenticity.
Back up your words with actions
Walk the talk. Don’t just say all the right things, you need to work hard on the actions you set out and deliver on the promises to your audiences. Nothing sends people away faster than being continually let down by over promises and under delivering.
Much like Rome wasn’t built in a day, it takes time, effort and authentic communication to build trust with your clients, stakeholders and customers. So be patient grasshopper.