“Car buying and selling is traditionally one of the most negative experiences that people go through,” says Andrew Leede, product owner at Blinker, the app launched in 2013 to totally disrupt how people buy, sell, and refinance cars. “More people would rather go to the dentist than negotiate buying or selling a car.”
Trust, Leede says, is the foundation of creating a car-buying experience that doesn’t feel like a root canal. But it can be a challenge in a world — and particularly in a vertical — where consumers are increasingly wary of poor experiences.
“Consumers today are increasingly savvy,” Leede says. “They interact with enough businesses that they have high expectations. For really meaningful, trusted experiences, users expect to be an active partner in the connection and the experience with that brand and business.”
They’re looking for information, security, and transparency, he says, and want to feel like they’re engaged in a conversation, as opposed to feeling like a number subjected to the protocols or whims of a business or brand.
Meeting those expectations starts inside the company, he adds.
“We aim to foster a collaborative and empowered culture within our office walls,” says Leede. “That foundation reflects in our product and campaigns and partnerships as well. We’re customer-first.”
To start, they work on ensuring that the customer experience (CX) is consistent across all customer touchpoints. From marketing materials to the application itself to their customer success phone lines, the company aims to have consistent language, tone, look, and feel, to meet those expectations. That cohesiveness across all interaction points can illustrate a brand’s focus and commitment to providing a valuable and meaningful user experience.
Another way they work on building trust with companies is building partnerships with brands that already have plenty of trust to go around in the consumer space, and can lend a smaller company just getting its footing in their industry a leg up: an integration with USAA, Carfax reports, GAP insurance, vehicle service by Allied, or DocuSign for signing loan documents.
“It goes a long way to establishing trust with our consumer base,” he explains.
Trust also really comes down to being authentic, Leede says, and they leverage their customer service team to hit that goal. They’ve worked to reduce friction between the consumer and their ability to get a real person on the line, whether it’s call or chat, and they’ve armed their service reps with the power to make decisions in situations where customer unhappiness needs to be addressed. And, he says, no customer feedback is ever dismissed.
“It’s an example of our commitment to being real, in good times and bad, with current and future customers,” he says. “We take feedback in a constant feedback loop very seriously. As a product team, we’re in constant communication with the front lines of the customer success team and business development to understand what we can do for our users. We don’t see ourselves as the customers, but we really do empathize and advocate for them.”
On the product side, being customer driven means prioritizing what customers struggle with, ways to improve, and putting customer satisfaction with the product over the new bells and whistles they’re planning to add to the app next, and making technical decisions that are customer-focused.
“Our duty is to understand who the customer is and what they want, and then prior to rolling out these features, validate that the solution we’ve iterated on or ideated on is actually going to provide values to the users,” he says. “Whether that’s prototyping and user testing to validate the flow before we even put it into development — relying on that constant feedback loop, getting in touch with users who are going through the process right now, and understanding not the feedback that we received months ago, but right now, what are users looking for in a specific interaction.”
That includes user testing, validation, customer surveys, and trying to extend a bucket of what they think the value will be to actually seeing tangible results, both positive and negative, from a feature rollout.
“If it goes well that’s great — it not only improves our customer satisfaction, but hopefully helps us as a business,” he says. “If it fails, what did we learn from that?”
To learn more about establishing real relationships with your customers, how your business can benefit from consumer trust, and building customer experiences based on trust, don’t miss this VB Live event!
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