Consumer Study | Searching for Trust: Three Critical Steps to Success

In a world where information is everywhere and consumer expectations have never been higher, brands are under more pressure than ever to meet customer needs everywhere they search.  So how can businesses foster trust with consumers whilst also building a search experience that customers really need? Yext’s latest consumer research, gathered from 6,000 consumers across the UK, Germany and France, aims to answer just that. 

It is no surprise that consumers see search engines as a trusted gateway in their quest for answers. With search engine results being the most trusted source of information after friends and family, the accuracy and validity of the information consumers find goes a long way to establishing a trusted relationship with brands themselves. 

A reputation for trustworthiness is something that brands should be taking extremely seriously, especially in uncertain times like these. Many respondents (59%) say they were actively concerned about the consequences of misinformation before the Covid-19 outbreak, and now more than half (53%) say that they are more worried about the issue than they were before the pandemic started.It is clear from the Searching for Trust report that trust is key to consumers when considering which brands they do business with: 74% said that they are likely to buy again from a brand that they trust. And the good news is that whilst the implications of misinformation on the bottom line can be huge, the steps needed to build the foundations of trust can be straightforward and quick to implement. 

Fight for your facts, wherever they are 

Getting a customer to convert is no small feat in the world of marketing. Yet many brands don’t realise that one of the easiest ways to dominate the customer journey and guide potential customers to that all-important ‘place order’ button is to ensure that the information they interact with about your brand is as accurate and consistent as possible. 

Making sure that high-intent customers are getting the information they need, when they need it, can help them to convert. On the flip side, 45% of consumers said that if they find the wrong answer to a question about a brand, they are most likely to blame the brand itself for providing incorrect information. It has never been more crucial to make sure that as a brand, you keep your house in order. 

Meet expectations – starting with the fundamentals 

Consumers are being trained to ask more complex questions than ever before, thanks to the development of Natural Language Processing, and search endpoints like smart speakers. In fact, 50% of internet searches now comprise four or more words

As consumers ask longer questions, it is critical for brands to be able to answer queries about the fundamentals, and ensure the information is kept up to date. Less than half (40%) of the respondents in the survey said that they trust brands ‘in general’ and the prominent concerns were false and misleading information (31%) and conflicting information about businesses (29%). 

Whilst this is a concern for brands who do not take control of their information online, there is a huge opportunity for brands who do. Be sure to meet your customers with information that will swiftly get them to the next step in their journey – and build trust along the way

Put search at the heart of your site experience 

With a search strategy in place and efforts to provide accurate information online, brands can set themselves apart from the competition and gain that all-important reputation as a trusted brand. A quarter (26%) of respondents said that onsite navigation was a major factor in their decision-making process, followed closely by online search (20%). 

Customers want instant, accurate answers, straight from the source. If information isn’t available, support costs will go up – and you risk losing revenue due to poor website conversions. Encouraging your customers to ask questions on your website also benefits from unprecedented insight into their wants and needs. So put search front and centre on your company website. In the long term, wrong answers will cost customers, but providing consistent information will build trust, cement relationships and boost sales.Just as Google provides a search engine that serves up answers to broad questions, business websites should function in the same way. At Yext, we’ve built that advanced site solution with our “Official Answers Engine”. Customers ask brands thousands of questions every day, but when a business fails to deliver they will turn somewhere else. And in the age of misinformation, that one wrong answer could mean a lifetime of lost business. 

Download a copy of the full Searching For Trust report here

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