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7 strategies to build customer trust

28th Oct 2016
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Anyone doing business today understands that the marketplace is a very different environment than it was a decade ago. Consumers approach companies that want their business with a basic lack of trust. They demand that a company prove its worthiness and its value first. This is especially true of the largest buying demographic in the world – millennials. So, how does a company build that trust? Here are seven strategies that will help.

You Have to Look Legitimate

If you have a tacky website that looks like you’ve never moved beyond the 90’s, you can expect high bounce rates. You do not look like a company that is up with the times, ready to do business with today’s consumer. Websites don’t have to cost thousands. But they do have to be contemporary, easily navigable, with good graphics and visuals, visitors will stay a bit longer and see what you offer.

Humanize Your Brand

People do want to know who you are. This is accomplished somewhat with an “About Us” page on your site, but it is better accomplished through storytelling on your social media accounts. Feature your team members individually; have your team tweet about events going on at the company; show how you celebrate holidays; add some humor and inspiration; get a cause and show how your company supporting it. When you receive community awards, post them in big ways. It’s all about connecting with your audience in personal ways.

User-Generated Content

This can take many forms but it is always powerful in building trust. Here are specific tactics:

  • Solicit reviews and testimonials from your customers. Testimonials have received a “bad rap” in the past, because companies have made up their own and just posted them on their sites. Today’s consumer is too smart for that. Do it right. Provide links to trusted review sites and offer an incentive for customers to post a review there. Then, you can post that review on your site as having come from that trusted review organization. There are also third-party companies that will verify your testimonials as having come from actual customers. National Air Warehouse is a good example of this. The company posts customer reviews that have been verified through a third-party. This lends full legitimacy to those reviews.​
  • Solicit photos and stories from your happy customers. Post these often. Anytime you can feature a customer story, trust levels increase. ModCloth features its customers all over its site and social media channels – wearing items they have purchased. Other followers comment on the items and how great the “models” look in them.

Personalize Customer Service

If consumers have one huge complaint, it is getting satisfactory customer service. They are in a hurry; they want their complaints and issue dealt with immediately. You need to do two things here.

  • Automate customer service as much as possible on your site. Instead of customers waiting on the phone and punching buttons, have a customer service page where they can enter the issue and use self-service options. For example, if they need to return an item, have a printable, pre-paid mailing label right there to use.
  • Solicit customer feedback and commenting on your social media pages. Check them every day. when there are complaints and issues, respond immediately and publicly right there and provide the solution. This tells all readers that you care, that you will resolve issues, and that you can be trusted in this regard.

Post Your Badges and Certifications Prominently

If you have an A rating from the BBB, show it. If you are in a business that has regional and national certifying associations, post those badges in a prominent place on your site. Consumers do look for these things, and they feel better doing business with a company that has them.

Provide Security

Customers will not provide personal or financial information if they don’t feel comfortable. Use a third-party vendor to process those transactions, publicize who it is, and provide the badges for such security. Many companies are now taking advantage of customers being able to use their charge and debit cards through PayPal. This and Stripe are well-known and fully trusted payment processors.

If you ask customers to set up an account or to subscribe to your newsletter, a process that involves surrendering their email addresses, you need to have policies in writing that their information will be held securely and never shared with a third-party.

Post Often and Regularly

Your blog and all of your social media pages must have recent posts. When any of these channels look neglected or outdated, customers may believe that your company is declining. They don’t want to do business with a company that may go out of business. Keep everything up to date and post about recent activity, events, etc.

Trust is a long-term thing. Given the hacking, the rip-offs, and the poor customer service that online customers have experienced in recent times; given the fact that today’s consumer wants more that a sales pitch but a personal relationship with businesses; and given the reality that customers depend upon friends and other customers for recommendations, anything you can do to build that trust will be a key to revenue.

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