Let's think about the following scenario: You've decided to look for an alternative version of your note-taking app because you are not fully satisfied with the one you are using. As you are searching online, you come across an app that has all the features you need, so you download it, set it up, and give it a try. The user interface is beautiful and everything is wonderful.
However, a few days later, the app starts crashing. The more notes you add, the harder it is to load them. There is no indication that the app is loading or frozen. On top of that, you are annoyed that there is a huge difference between the desktop, web, and mobile versions of the app, because not everything can be edited everywhere. Even worse, you never received a response from customer support despite sending several emails and tweets.
You feel frustrated. You have given them several chances, yet they have failed you every single time, so you give up. Without giving it a thought, you go back to your original note-taking app. It isn't perfect, but you know you can trust it.
This story actually happened to me last week. It felt like a waste of time, but it also kept me thinking about how quickly product trust can be broken. I went from love to hate in just one week.
Why Some Fail to Build Trust in Products
The truth is, products fail, apps crash, and technical bugs happen. We all know that, but we also know users can be forgiving to an extent. However, there is a tipping point where users make the decision that it's not worth their time or money to continue using a product, and that's always bad news.
If trust is something all products want to build with their users, why does this problem persist with some products? Almost always, the answer is because they don't have a foundation designed around building trust.
The Impact of Trust on Users
The thing with trust is that you don't wait until it's broken to build it. It's more difficult and often more expensive to repair. You work on it to earn it and nurture it.
At the end of the day, trust is the ultimate success of a brand and it’s reflected in so many measurable way:
- Trust makes people buy a product despite its price. In fact, about 75% of people say that they are willing to pay for a product that isn't necessarily the cheapest if they have high trust (source).
- Trust also means higher engagement. This means that people are not only willing to pay more attention to your brand but are also more likely to share their personal information (source).
- Trust is the foundation of advocacy. The highest level of trust, and the dream for every product, is when users become advocates, willing to share it with others and even defend it from any criticism.
How to Build Product Trust
The question is: How do we build trust before people even get to know our product? There are several ways, and they are all equally important. Here are some examples:
Having a consistent brand and messaging that feels human:
Nowadays, more than ever, people want to feel like they are interacting with a human brand: they want to interact with the human beings behind the brand, and they also want to be treated like humans. So, be consistent with how your brand expresses, shows up, and looks, and, more importantly, make sure your brand is authentic and vulnerable. You'd be surprised at how much trust can be built based on transparency.
Designing a good user experience that is intuitive:
This may sound obvious, but the quality of the user experience can make or break an app. Having an interface that is intuitive, provides clear instructions on expected behavior, and is one step ahead of what users need is key for users to feel safe using your product. The design of your app should also consider how to reduce the learning curve and respond to the needs and questions a user may have while using the app. Users should be able to accomplish their tasks efficiently and without frustration. And if a task requires more steps, make sure the app can guide them seamlessly so they don’t feel overwhelmed.
Including social proof that speaks for your brand and product:
People not only want to hear from you that your app is good. They also want to validate this from others. Therefore, always include and share social proof. You can do this in different ways, such as through customer reviews, industry expert testimonials, ratings, and more. Show everywhere what people are saying about your product and their experience using it.
Providing responsive customer support that has people's back:
Having responsive customer support is key. Provide easy and accessible ways for users to provide feedback, ask questions, and get support. Be clear about how users can communicate with you if they have any trouble, how they can find answers to their questions, and how long they should expect to wait for an answer if they reach out. Providing a help center, customer support chat, and a section for frequently asked questions are some of the ways you can let users know you're there for them.
Communicating clearly and transparently:
Provide clear and concise information about the product, its features, and any associated costs or risks. Be transparent about how the user's data is being handled, privacy practices, and how to access it.
Having a consistent UI design and interactions:
Maintain a consistent visual and interaction design throughout the product to create familiarity and build trust. Users should feel comfortable and confident when navigating the interface, and not feel like they have to guess or learn how to use things every time they use your product.
Anticipating errors and allowing users to recover:
Anticipate and prevent errors by incorporating ways of validating data, as well as clear error messages that help the user feel guided. Allowing users to recover from mistakes with easy-to-follow steps and avoiding dead-ends at all costs are key to maintaining trust and minimizing disruptions.
Designing for all devices and people:
Make sure your product is responsive and works well across different devices and screen sizes. If for any reason your product only works with a specific range of screen dimensions, communicate that clearly to users.
You should also prioritize accessibility, making sure your product meets at least the basic accessibility standards and accommodates users with diverse abilities to ensure inclusivity.
Making your product safe:
Your product should not only feel safe but also be safe. Therefore, implement robust security measures to protect user data and privacy. Make sure you communicate these measures clearly to provide confidence to users about the safety of their personal information.
Designing with empathy:
Don't treat users as numbers. Design with empathy, considering their needs, goals, and emotions. Treat them as a community instead of a statistical sample. This will help you create experiences that resonate with them and address their pain points.
Improving your product continuously:
Doing usability testing and user research isn't an activity you do once. You must gather user feedback regularly, analyze metrics, and iterate on the product to address any user needs and concerns. Showing your commitment to continuous improvement fosters trust in the product's evolution.
Establishing trust is critical for the success of any product. Without trust, users are unlikely to engage with your product or become loyal fans. To build trust, you can use various strategies, such as social proof, clear and consistent branding, intuitive and transparent design, and responsive customer support. By focusing on these strategies, you can establish trust with your users and create a loyal fan base. This, in turn, will help drive engagement and conversion.
Don't wait until trust is broken to start building it. Begin today and watch your product thrive.
If you want to improve the user experience and brand positioning of your product, you can hire us for a 2-week sprint or more. Check out our How we work page to learn more about this service.