Strengthening Trust in Your Brand with Better Communication and Monitoring

How much do your customers trust your brand? The answer is critical to your long-term success, especially when consumer confidence in brands seems to be shrinking. Even though over 80% of consumers “consider trust a deciding factor in their buying decisions,” customer trust erodes year after year.

Brand impersonation and suboptimal experiences with your website or service channels can diminish or eliminate your customers’ trust, especially if they lose money to brand impostor fraud. Unfortunately, brand impostor attacks are more common every year. The FTC reported that in 2022 U.S. consumers lost $660 million to business imposters, up from $453 million in 2021 and $196 million in 2020, when pandemic-related impostor scams exploded.

As brand impostor incidents increase and customer expectations rise, defining and following a set of best practices for brand protection can help your business build, maintain and strengthen customer trust.

Offer Full Transparency About How You Use Customer Data

A recent PwC report shows a large trust gap between businesses and U.S. consumers and concerns about how companies use the data they collect from customers. While 68% of consumers said that “it’s important for companies to disclose their data privacy policies,” just 42% of the companies in the survey did so.

That gap is also reflected in ClearSale’s most recent international consumer attitudes survey results: In the U.S. and Canada, 80% of consumers said they would rethink buying from an online store that asked them for too much personal information. More than one in 10 (11%) said they had abandoned at least one purchase in the previous 12 months because they didn’t trust the website with their information.


Even if you don’t do business in regions where data privacy policy disclosures are required by rules like GDPR, an easy-to-find and simply-worded data privacy disclosure on your website can help close the trust gap with your customers. This single action can help reduce cart abandonment and convert more visitors to customers.

Explain How You Protect Customer Payment Data

Customers also want to know how your brand will protect their payment data from hackers and fraudsters. Often, companies hesitate to share information about payment security or cybersecurity measures for several reasons. First, many brands worry that mentioning security measures will make customers more worried about fraud and identity theft. Most customers will find this information reassuring. At least 74% of U.S. and Canadian shoppers surveyed said they feel more comfortable giving an online store their payment information “if they have a payment security certification displayed on their site.”

Some companies hesitate to disclose their security measures because they worry about attackers using that information to find weaknesses in their defenses. However, customers don’t need a comprehensive rundown of your security practices. There’s no need to share more than a payment security badge and perhaps another for website security–the kinds of security measures that all online stores should have in place.

Be Proactive in Protecting Your Customers and Your Brand

Protecting your customers from fraud is one of the most important elements of maintaining their trust. Eight out of ten U.S. and Canadian shoppers in the consumer attitudes survey will boycott an online store if the store allows a fraud incident using their payment information. However, protecting customers on your site and social channels is no longer enough to safeguard their trust in your brand.

An increase in brand impersonator attacks is using fake social media accounts, phishing email campaigns and other tactics to drive customers to fake websites. There, customers may hand over their login credentials, payment data or both to place orders that never arrive – or that result in the delivery of counterfeit goods. When victims discover the scam they blame the impersonated brand, and trust in that brand erodes.

The ease of registering domains, setting up websites and creating impostor social profiles means monitoring your brand for impersonation is an ongoing responsibility. An in-house team or third-party service that scans the internet and social platforms for lookalike sites and profiles can help your brand quickly identify, document and report impostors. Monitoring online marketplaces for fake seller profiles and counterfeit products should also be part of your brand protection practices.

While you work behind the scenes to remove brand impostors, be upfront with your customers about how you’ll communicate with them and how you won’t. For example, let them know that no one from your company will ever call or email them to request a credit card number or their login credentials.

Manage Communication About Adverse Events Wisely

The steps above can go a long way toward protecting your brand-customer relationships, but there’s one more key step to take now. Review your company’s disaster-recovery PR plans, or prepare a communications plan, should your brand ever suffer a data breach or a successful impersonation attack. That plan should include transparent, spin-free messaging about the scope of the issue, the potential impact on customers, and the steps your company takes to resolve the problem. A quick, honest response is more likely to salvage trust than delayed responses or responses that share information one drip at a time.

Transparency about the customer data you collect, basic information about how you protect that data, continuous monitoring for brand impostors and a ready-to-go communication plan are the keys to earning and keeping your customers’ trust. Trust is the key to repeat purchases and a good reputation making it easier to attract new customers, so you can continue growing your brand and business.


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