Regaining customers’ trust

How can we invite customers to follow health and safety rules without creating a negative emotion which in the worst-case scenario can lead to avoiding your business? It’s now more than ever before crucial to win your (potential) customer’s trust says Dr. Marcel de Roos, Psychologist PhD, the Netherlands.

The coronavirus crisis has been an enormous challenge for the travel, tourism and hospitality industry. The industry has worked hard on health and safety measures regarding COVID-19. At the same time, we know the importance of an optimal customer experience. The questions that arise are – As a business, what should you do when people start to travel again? How and what should you communicate and which psychological insights and tools can
you use?

Psychological insights and tools that can be helpful

You need to be very clear in your communication about how you have implemented the new health and safety measures in your organisation. That generates trust.

Emotional design is quite a novel field in psychology. We might think that we are rational beings but emotions are central in how we interpret reality. Emotional design can be used while designing your website, the actual hotel building, and also in how you communicate. It’s used to formulate your communication in such a way that it evokes positive emotions with your (potential) client and mitigates negative ones. This is very important in order to prevent escalations and to maintain the trust of your customer.

In order to create a positive emotional engagement, your website should have a ‘friendly presence’ in its design plus lots of other emotional reinforcers in addition to happy customer testimonials and pictures of your team.

If a customer has a problem with your product or service then the most effective technique is to take responsibility, even if due to circumstances it’s not your fault. Show empathy to prevent escalations. The customer feels that you understand him and that is exactly what most humans want.  Prioritise your customer and his questions. It’s of paramount importance to know what the customer wants, and you should be digitally proactive. This also means
that you must have an excellent customer service with representatives who are trained to build up
trust with the customer – they are friendly, attentive and authentic.

Where decision making is concerned, nowadays we know a lot more about how our brain functions. One important insight is that 99 per cent of our decisions and behaviour is influenced by factors which we unconsciously notice, and more or less ‘automatically’ react to. One of these signals is called ‘social proof’ – when you see that other
people do something and you trust these people then this is an incentive to do the same.

FactFile

Emotional design is quite a novel field in psychology. We might think that we are rational beings but emotions are central in how we interpret reality.

It’s of paramount importance to know what the customer wants, and you should be digitally proactive.

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