In today’s digital economy, where more and more shopping is done online every day, companies everywhere are scrambling to expand their online offerings, and in the process of doing so are encountering the huge trust deficit that defines internet shopping. Around the globe, consumers are hungry for new products and services, but hesitant to embrace new firms or brands because of the risk that using their credit cards online entails. So what should companies looking to build trust with their online customers do to bridge this gap and establish a positive relationship?
It turns out building trust with your customers isn’t too hard; all it takes is patience, the proper financial investments, and a robust company culture dedicated towards delivering the best products or services possible. Follow these tips, and you’ll establish trust with your online customers in no time.
Be upfront and honest
Let’s face it: the internet is a maze of disinformation where it’s increasingly challenging, if not outright impossible, to find the truth. Today’s customers are often left believing that offers placed in front of them by microtargeted ads are too good to be true, and refuse to trust companies who offer a majority, or an entirety, of their services or products online. To build trust with these customers, then, you’ll need to be upfront and honest about what specifically you’re offering, and have the capacity to back all of your promises, no matter how extravagant they are.
So, what does it take to build an upfront, trustworthy brand? More often than not, this has more to do with your company’s workplace culture than it does the products or services you’re offering. If you’re a successful business, it’s already likely you’re offering quality goods or services that don’t break or fail to come through when customers need them; if not, you’re already on your way towards bankruptcy. Building trust, then, involves going beyond the product, and ensuring customers that their feedback is heard, considered, and appreciated.
The way to do this is with a robust PR team and HR workers outfitted with the tools necessary to ensure your employees are always in tip-top shape, ready to help customers with whatever they need. This means doing more than just outsourcing operations to the lowest bidder.
As long as you haven’t defined your brand’s promise in a way that’s deceitful, you’re being honest on the retail-end of your business. Having an honest PR team that doesn’t distort your message with savvy marketing techniques is thus critical towards remaining upfront with your customers. This is one of the most obvious trends noticed by many SEO firms happening in 2018. You should also be holding your employees everywhere—from your CEO down to your interns—to high ethical standards, so that customers know their personal information is in sound hands when they hand over their payment information.
Provide a consistent, professional experience
Building trust with online customers takes more than upfront honesty, however. You’ll need to provide a consistent, professional experience that seldom lets your consumers down if you intend to bring them back to your website time and time again. Trusted companies are referred to friends and family more often than others, meaning your brand’s ability to retain its excellence each time your customers buy from you is vital to spreading your business.
In the 21st century, it’s already a given that your customers’ digital experiences should be seamless, focused on smart-looking websites that are easy on the eyes and even easier to use. Excessive downtime for updates or unexpected crashes will quickly have your customers looking elsewhere, as loyalty’s a two-way street; you can’t expect your consumers to trust in you if your services crash on vital shopping days like Black Friday, for instance.
Building a transparent company culture will help you when unfortunate events inevitably transpire, too. No company, especially one focused on constantly offering digital products or services, can expect to go long without a data-breach or unexpected downtime. Being transparent with your customers when their information has been compromised, or even just providing constant, accurate updates on the process of their transactions, will go a long way towards building a trusting relationship between you and your buyers.
Building positive relationships with your customers relies on genuinely valuing their continued patronage; no company will get by if its customers feel spurned or ignored. Be sure to take critical feedback into consideration, and to invest in your human capital so that the digital help-desk or phone services that your digital customers rely on are always staffed by humans, rather than machines. These tips will go a long way towards building a lasting culture of trust that will benefit you and your customers alike for years to come.