Building customer trust is a crucial step towards the success of any online business. And whether you are an established business or a startup, walking the extra mile to gain your customer's trust is worth all the hard work.
If you struggle to convert your customers, there might be a trust issue between them and your business.
Here are 11 ways that a good customer journey, an effective customer support team and knowing your customer interest can help prospective customers develop trust in your business.
1. Gain customer trust and confidence with a good first impression
You've probably heard that you only get one chance at building a first impression. And that first impression can last up to 6 months!
Trust levels are made during that first impression, usually by your website - the face of your company.
If the home of your business is complex, there are too many distractions, and pages take forever to load, you might be pushing your new customer away.
Believe it or not, customers evaluate websites in a matter of 7 seconds, which means that your website has little time to prove to customers that your business is trustworthy.
What can you do?
Improve website design and functionality.
It’s not a surprise anymore that a pleasant user experience on your website is key to attracting more customers and leaving a positive first impression. That’s why you should take your time working on your website’s design.
Carefully choose colour schemes, images, fonts and logical flow of the information presented. Most importantly, make sure website functionality is intact. You want your visitors to be able to navigate your site and easily obtain the information they are looking for.
Optimize your page loading speed
75% of internet users admit that they wouldn’t return to websites that took longer than 4 seconds to load. Needless to say, every second counts as it can either make a visitor stick around for longer or push them away.
Ideally, you want your website to load in a blink of an eye. And that means it should appear in all its glory in under half a second. According to the Harvard Database of Useful Biological Numbers, that’s how long a blink of an eye lasts. However, specialists say that anything between 500 milliseconds and 2 seconds would match current page load speed expectations.
2. Offer a secure payment connection
Trust is earned by showing that you can keep a customer's money and data safe.
Even though more and more people choose to shop online, the question of online payment security is never off the table. You can offer high-quality products or services, but if you cannot provide a secure payment option, you are likely to face some difficulties converting those visitors into customers.
What can you do?
Go the extra mile and offer a trusted online payment method that your customers widely recognize. If you are selling internationally, offer different payment methods that are well-known worldwide. At the moment, the most popular ones include credit and debit cards (American Express, MasterCard, Visa), PayPal, Apple Pay and Google Wallet. However, if you are selling locally, make sure you also accept payment methods that are considered safe in your area.
Customer data is also important to keep safe.
Window shoppers look closely at SSL certificates and third-party logos as indicators of whether they can trust your business. You want to display safety badges on your checkout page to inform the customers that their credit card information is safe. Studies show that trust badges help uncertain customers feel better about giving away their credit card information, especially when shopping on a website for the first time.
Websites that display these badges can expect higher conversion rates and revenue. Last but not least, secure payment can help increase an average order value as customers are willing to spend more shopping on a website they know they can trust.
3. People are not speaking about your product
Window shoppers are very unlikely to purchase a product or service they don’t know about without looking it up online first. And if customer reviews or testimonials are nowhere to be found (or show that trust in your business is low) a customer can’t make a confident decision to take the plunge.
88% of people trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from someone they know.
Trust is critical and built into recommendations from someone or someone they know.
The more positive reviews there are on your website and across social media, the more convinced customers will be of their decision to shop from you.
What can you do?
Encourage your customers to leave a product or service review on your website. You can do that by occasionally conveying a customer satisfaction survey or giving customers an option to leave feedback on your product on your website at any time. Survey results also help give you insights into the sentiment toward your brand and allow you to get to the root cause of customer relationships.
Another thing you can do is send regular reminders via emails or browser push notifications, asking users to share their opinion about the product they’ve purchased.
Last but not least, encourage users to share their experiences with your brand on social media using certain hashtags or simply tagging you in their posts. Not only will you be able to respond to their feedback, you also will be getting more social recognition. And that’s you killing two birds with one stone.
4. You are too mysterious
Chances are that your visitors are curious not only about the features of your service but also about terms and conditions, shipping rates, terms of service or the security of their personal information. If this type of information is nowhere to be found on your website, you might be prolonging the conversion time or losing an opportunity to sell at all.
What can you do?
Don’t leave your visitors hanging. Fully disclose all the information they might need to help them convert faster.
A well-constructed website footer can help build customer trust by putting important but less-frequented pages in one place. Customers trust a brand with nothing to hide, so don't be afraid to communicate it all.
Depending on what business you are in, consider disclosing the following information on your website:
shipping prices and methods
terms and conditions
help centre or FAQ.
5. Be contactable
There’s nothing more frustrating than not being able to contact a business when you have a question to ask or a point to make.
And customers don't trust brands they can't communicate with.
What can you do?
Customers say they trust brands they can communicate with, so do that.
Be easy to communicate with.
Not only should you provide excellent customer service, but customers are likely to trust you if they can communicate with you via their preferred channel throughout the customer journey.
Make sure your existing customers can give you a call or send an email. Consider implementing live chat on your website to provide live support too, or have a contact form on your website. Certain businesses are expected to have their office address too to build more public trust
6. Maintain trust by being active on social media
Having inactive social media accounts can send the wrong message about your e-commerce business.
Generally, a brand's dead social media account says one of two things:
you are no longer in business
you're indifferent to your online reputation and the opportunity to connect with your customers.
But there are more ways to improve customer trust via social media than posting regularly.
What you are missing out on being inactive on your social media accounts is being able to react and respond to customers’ comments and messages in real-time.
And that can cost you not only customer trust but loyalty too.
What can you do?
One of the best ways of building and maintaining customers' trust via social media is to focus on what you know works.
It's better to manage a few social media channels well than all of them mediocrely.
By now, you probably know which channels receive the most attention from your audience, so stick to them. Remove accounts from channels that you're not investing in or getting rewards from to not send the wrong marketing messages.
Consistently updating your social media accounts and responding to comments and questions left by your followers takes a lot of time. Companies must invest in social media if they want to stay active on all channels and provide customer and product support.
Having a professional managing your social media matters can not only take a huge weight off your shoulders. Plus, it can also lead your company towards achieving a positive social media presence that drives sales.
7. Your marketing campaigns are not personalized
The battle to win customers’ attention has never been as competitive as it is today. Therefore, more businesses are personalizing their marketing efforts to cut through the digital noise and build lasting relationships with satisfied customers.
If you are still delivering generic emails or web push notifications to your customers and your competitor is personalizing those, you might be at a significant disadvantage.
Because as your irrelevant messages are getting ignored, a competitor is building a relationship with window shoppers and slowly gaining customer trust and loyalty. Customers want to feel like they're being spoken to directly. Whether that's from the brand itself, an ambassador or a retail store, build trust with customers by speaking to the individual rather than the masses.
What can you do?
If you want to build trust in business and deliver messages that are truly relevant to each customer, you need to learn more about your consumer. You can do that by firstly collecting and then utilizing information about your customers. It might sound complicated, but it's not that hard.
Just start with the basics, like:
customer profile (name, age, location, birth date);
previous purchases (finished purchases and/or abandoned carts);
on-site behaviour (visited pages, clicks, last log-in).
Once you have gathered your customers' data, use it to segment your customers. Doing this will allow you to include or exclude a certain group of customers from your marketing campaigns which means that your content will only be delivered to those recipients who can truly benefit from it. Collecting information about your customers also comes in handy when creating automated messages, such as birthday discount emails or reminders about unfinished purchases. Personalization at this level helps you provide exceptional customer service when the individual reaches out to you, and further boost customer
As you can tell, personalized marketing works in your favour by helping you create lasting relationships with your customers that are based on trust. Just don't forget that there's always a thin line between “We thought this might be interesting for you” and “We are watching you”.
8. You make promises you can’t keep
From made-up statistics on your websites to promising prompt answers to inquiries, you might not deliver. Every promise you make and break hurts your reputation.
The same can be said about misleading product descriptions. Window shoppers might fall for it the first time, but soon after learning the truth about your product, regaining customer trust will be quite challenging.
What can you do?
Be honest from the start. Apologize and make it up to them if a promise is broken. Show that you’re making an effort, or better yet – don’t put yourself in a compromising position unnecessarily. It goes a long way to be as open as possible because, as in life, this is the only way to build a lasting relationship. Maintaining customer trust is dependent on admitting when you were wrong.
9. Building customer trust requires a mobile-friendly website
Trust depends a lot on accessibility.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that more and more visitors are accessing websites on mobile devices. In fact, mobile and desktop share traffic across the web in almost equal parts. And that means that you have to ensure your visitor has a positive experience regardless of what device he’s using to access your website.
What can you do?
Even though you might not be seeing a great volume of mobile traffic on your website now, it’s only going to increase with time. And if you want more mobile users to start converting, you will need to earn their trust first. Start off by offering a pleasant mobile browsing experience.
It can be done by either:
building a mobile website
retrofitting your website to responsive
fully redesigning your website
And just in case you are unsure whether you really need a mobile-friendly website, loyal customers who want to show their friends your brand will more than likely do so on a mobile device. Treat every customer similarly regarding accessibility, and you will see trust scores improve.
10. Links within your website direct users to a dead end
If you regularly publish articles, send newsletters or update your social media accounts with a bad or broken link, you might be testing your customer trust.
They might overlook your mistake the first time, but sooner or later, customers will start losing trust in you and will stop clicking on your links altogether. Customers are also impatient and, as mentioned earlier, aren't willing to wait more than several seconds for a page to load. Customers need to get what they want when they want it, and dead links, bad site navigation and a generation of bad customer experiences don't help customers feel heard.
What can you do?
To identify and fix existing link errors, occasionally scan your website using special tools, such as Broken Link Checker or Google Chrome plugin Check My Links, that crawl your pages to find broken links on it. If the outbound link is broken, replace it with a new one or remove it for good.
Another thing you can do is to use Google Analytics to determine how many of your visitors ended up on the 404 error page. At this point, you want to pay most of your attention to the pages from which these visitors are coming. Chances are, you have changed a certain URL without properly redirecting it.
11. Your value proposition is not clear, or you don’t even have one
Have you ever stumbled upon a business website and couldn’t figure out what it is about or how you can benefit from it? If yes, you probably can agree that it didn’t take you long to click back or close and get on with your day.
A website that doesn’t have a clear, concise and, most importantly, unique value proposition usually fails to spark visitors’ interest and creates a less trustworthy image of the business. When you think about it, it doesn’t come as a surprise that an incoming visitor doesn’t trust an unfamiliar website that struggles to communicate the main point of the business to him.
What can you do?
To keep the visitors on your site, create a value proposition that clearly explains:
What you do;
What are the benefits of your product/service;
How are you different from others.
Not sure how to do that? Gather customer feedback about your business. Speak to accounts that have provided repeat business, as it's likely a customer who has purchased from you several times knows what they like about you.
Once that is pinned down, prominently display your value proposition on the website and on other mediums through which you are communicating with your prospects and customers. If your value proposition is formulated well, it should help you attract qualitative prospects and make it easier for them to understand why they should trust you with their time and money.
Consumer trust is an essential part of any successful business online. It comes as no surprise that by maintaining your company's credibility, you have bigger chances to increase customer loyalty, boost sales, and accelerate referrals.
Without a doubt, building customer trust in your online business can and will be difficult.
However, simple yet genuine actions go a long way in creating a lasting bond with your customers, and that’s exactly what your business should try to attain, too.
Make customer trust a priority in your business strategy. The sooner you start taking the first steps towards being more honest, transparent and present with your customers, the sooner you will get to build sustainable relationships with them.