Here are some best practices to build trust with your potential customers online.
Now, though, online shopping is more popular than going to a physical store. Fifty-one percent of purchases people make are done online. No longer is a smiling face and a firm handshake enough to earn the trust of customers. Business decisions are done digitally now, and if you want to get, and keep, new customers, you need to win their trust through your website.
The problem is, the internet is full of scams. There are identity thieves trying to steal your information, criminals trying to get your credit cards, and people who will straight up steal your money but never send you the product they promised.
Because the internet is infested with scams, consumers are wary. They check reviews, research companies, and look up competitors. If a company can’t earn a person’s trust, they won’t do business with them.
Have a Transparent Business
People want to know what kind of company they are going to do business with. The more transparent you are with your customers, the more comfortable they will feel. People are used to faceless corporations taking advantage of them, but when you can show them that your company is full of real people with personalities and morals, customers will feel much more comfortable.
A first good step is include a page on your website that lists employees at the company. That way, customers can see who they will be doing business with, and it associates faces with the company. If your business is too large to reasonably list everybody, then just include upper management. Some faces are better than no faces.
Then, as your business makes decisions that impact consumers, talk about it openly with them. Making business decisions from the shadows and not talking about it is just asking for outrage from current and future customers. Feel like you need to raise the pricing on some products or services? Put a post up on your site explaining what is happening and why you are doing it.
Finally, be honest when doing customer support. Have your customer support representatives be friendly and able to openly talk about your customer’s problems. Nobody likes it when customer support acts very vague or fills the conversation with business double talk.
If your company screws up, own up to it. If it’s on an individual basis, reach out to the afflicted parties and explain what happened and what you are doing to fix it. If it’s something that could affect all of your customers, it might be worth announcing on social media. Don’t wait for a customer to call you out on your mistakes — get ahead of it and actively fix it. Doing this will rebuild your credibility and start healing any wounds created by the mistake.
Be Authentic on Social Media
Social media for businesses can be tricky. You need to keep a level of professionalism, but social media is all about being friendly, funny, and entertaining. How your business acts on social media plays a huge part in your branding and what kind of followers you get.
A good way to think of your social media is to act like a real person. A real person wouldn’t just share the same picture or rave only about their own products. They share what is interesting to them, like pictures from other people, comment on things they are passionate about, and share funny things they find online. When somebody comments or complains to the company on social media, a person should respond quickly and actively try to help.
Get Reviews — They Matter a Ton
While you can do a lot to build trust on your own, the best way to build trust is for other people to vouch for you. That’s basically what reviews are. It’s when customers do business with you and walk away either extremely happy or unhappy with their experience.
Hopefully you are doing a great job as a business and your customers are walking away happy. The next step though is getting them to do the extra work that goes into giving a review.
If you have emails or phone numbers for your customers, a great place to start is simply asking them for a review. Make sure they’ve had the product for a good while, that way they can get an honest impression of the product for the review. If you have made a good enough product, then simply asking for reviews will be enough.
If reviews aren’t coming in, then you need to offer another reason for customers to give reviews. It’s important to note that it is illegal to pay for reviews, but you can do things like enter them into a contest or give them a discount on future products.
Be an Honest Company
Honesty is the best policy. If you make a mistake, own up to it. If a customer has real concerns, answer their questions to their satisfaction. Be real, talk clearly, and do it all friendly and professionally. Doing this can help build consumer trust with your business and lead to more sales.