How Personalization Builds Consumer Trust Across Industries

How Personalization Builds Consumer Trust Across Industries

Building trust with your customers is one of the most effective ways to retain customers long-term and benefit from their word-of-mouth referrals. Every business wants to score customers for life — and trust is key to locking in those relationships.

Yet a recent survey shows the gap between the need for brand trust and the lack of it in the market:

  • Consumers are more than 2x as likely to buy from brands they trust, stay loyal to them and advocate for them.
  • But only 34% of people say they trust most of the brands they buy from.

It’s up to you to foster that sense of trust from the very beginning. This is where personalization helps.

Customers expect personalization, but they’re also concerned about how their data is being used. That means brands need to be responsible with how they go about creating these personalized experiences.

Personalization should demonstrate that you understand the individual’s needs and interests. It should be timely and two-way — meaning you’re reaching out at the right time and allowing an easy way for the consumer to connect with you. And as you’ll see in the examples below, it requires plain speaking and transparency. Another way to say this? Be human.

Here’s how companies across industries use personalization to build consumer trust.

Personalization and Consumer Trust in Banking

Personalization and Consumer Trust in Banking

Transparency is important in all industries for a healthy business-customer relationship. But it’s especially essential when it comes to banking. More than ever, people need to know their finances are being handled by someone they can trust — especially in the COVID and post-COVID era, when many customers (32%) are struggling financially and trust in banks has largely flatlined.

When banking communications are personalized, it reinforces to customers that they’re valued and understood. They’re not “just a number.”

It’s easier than you might think to add personalized touches to your customer communications. Take your cue from app-based banks that rely on personalization. One example is financial company Atom Bank, “a bank that’s all about you.” It’s hyper-focused on providing an individual experience, personalizing every element from start to finish.

But you don’t need an app like Atom to leverage personalization that builds consumer trust in banking.

In another example, JPMorgan Chase created a video that walks small business owners through how to use their new account. It includes the name of the small business, personalized tips for that business owner and more.

As an onboarding video, it’s also a great way to welcome the customer individually, starting the relationship off right to strengthen loyalty going forward.

Insurance Gets Personal

A customer who doesn’t trust their insurance provider is 18x as likely to change carriers in the next 3 years as one who trusts their provider. For the insurance industry, trust is key.

Personalized communications can help increase engagement in insurance. And engaged insurance customers spend more and recommend their carrier more.

Engaged insurance customers:

  • Purchase 22% more insurance products
  • Stay customers 4 years longer
  • Invest 3x more frequent investment in financial products
  • Recommend their carrier 4x more often

And when it comes to personalization in insurance, “when” is almost as important as “who” — that is, timing is critical. You need to know who your customer is and what they need, but you should also take advantage of key moments to reach out to your customer with a personalized message.

Multinational insurance firm AXA put this principle to good effect by leveraging policy renewal reminders as an opportunity to engage customers. They sent an important video message to each customer directly about their plan. The video included the expiration date plus how they could add additional services or renew current policies with upgrades.

The results? The videos increased not only engagement but revenue, thanks to the personalized cross-selling.

  • 3x higher CTR than any of AXA’s previous email marketing campaigns
  • 8x uplift in conversion rates
  • Videos watched 1.2 times on average

Personalize the Utilities Customer Journey

What about the utilities industry? How is consumer trust relevant here? It’s not the most obvious place for a strong brand-consumer relationship. After all, how many people you know talk about how much they love their electricity provider?

Think about what your consumer needs and how you can help them. You might explain new offerings or their latest bill. Perhaps you could give your customer a snapshot of their energy consumption — along with personalized tips for reducing energy use, good for their budget and the environment.

Here are two examples.

American Water

This monthly statement video presents a customer’s water bill, explaining the billing structure and the customer’s water usage. It’s personalized, helpful and — because it’s a video — easy to understand.

National Grid

Showing customers you care about social and global issues like the environment is another way to build trust. According to the recent Trust Barometer report, 53% of customers think brands have a responsibility to get involved with at least one social issue that doesn’t directly increase its bottom line, and 38% of customers trust a brand based on societal considerations.

For utilities companies, green initiatives are a natural choice. See how this video from National Grid gives customers a clear picture of their electricity use and explains how they can further decrease their use with National Grid with a new eco-friendly heat pump.

Building Trust in Pensions and Retirement

People often dream of retirement, but their savings don’t always reflect that. Despite good intentions and big goals, when you’re bogged down in the day-to-day worries of life and work, it’s often hard to imagine what retirement will actually look like.

Imagine how personalization can change this. It can help people envision their future selves, showing them what saving for retirement actually means.

See an example from BBVA below.

As you can see, personalization often draws on an emotional connection, especially in the pensions and retirement field. But clarity is just as important. Video is an effective tool here since it adds a human touch but also presents information in an easy-to-digest format.

Take the video below by Standard Life as another example.

It breaks down how much the individual has currently in their pension, how much they could have at their designated retirement age, how much they could get each year as guaranteed income for life and much more.

How Transparency Builds Trust in Telecommunications

Just like with financial services industries, transparency helps build trust in telecommunications. When you clearly outline policy details, deadlines and costs, you’re helping customers feel more confident in their decisions as they begin or continue doing business with you.

In the video below, watch how BT simplified the onboarding process with a simple explainer for a new customer’s first bill. The video clearly breaks down each section of the bill and shows where different charges came from. It’s straightforward and easy to follow, and most importantly, it’s personalized so each customer only gets the information relevant to them.

Remember that for brand-consumer relationships, communication is the foundation of trust (not unlike personal relationships, for that matter). It’s what you say and how often you say it. Sometimes you might reach out “just because” — to celebrate an anniversary or share a recap of what you and your customer have done together so far.

These touchpoints are an opportunity for you to build trust and strengthen the relationship without asking for anything in return. We love this example from Vodafone. It’s personalized, yes, but even more than that, it’s fun.

Boost Customer Trust With Personalization

No matter what industry you’re in, your customers should be able to trust that you understand them and that you genuinely want to connect them with the products and services that will serve them best. Communicate openly, frequently and personally — just like you would in any other relationship you care about — and you’ll keep your customers longer and happier.

If you want to learn more about how to communicate 1:1 with your customers, click below to set up an intro call. We’d love to connect.

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Cheryl Rodewig

Cheryl Rodewig is a marketer and journalist published with international magazines and brands. She loves using data to craft meaningful stories and build connections with diverse audiences.