6 Ways to Build Customer Trust Online

6 Ways to Build Customer Trust Online
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The old adage of "if you build it, they will come" is not applicable in the online world. Once you build something, it takes a significant amount of work to attract the attention of your prospects. And after you've given it your all, you might not have the most powerful following you could have. It's at that point that you should ask yourself, "Do my customers trust me?"

This question's importance is backed up by data. In 2013, Nielsen's research demonstrated that 84 percent of customers will trust a company that was recommended to them by a friend or someone they know. Ideally, the person making the recommendation is doing so from a position of trust that they have for the company. That trust comes from under the weight of a variety of elements, from the quality of the product or service to the way the office looks like. As far as your online presence is concerned, trust is a very nuanced thing, but it's not very difficult to attain as long as you put the right mechanisms in place.

Here are a few ways to build up the trust your customers have in your brand online:

Aesthetics Is Everything

Despite all the effort we make in trying to undermine the notion that we judge books by their cover, it's hard to stop your nose from wrinkling when you come to a company's website and it looks like it teleported straight from the 90s. We left that era behind for a reason, and you're not going to get a lot of permanent customers if they have to cycle through a website that looks like a back-alley pharmacy that has some weird unlabeled medications on the counter.

The same could be said for sites that are difficult to navigate. At one point, visitors are just going to give up. It will take roughly eight seconds of trying before they just lift their arms up in the air and begin thinking of alternatives. This means that your site should not only look professional but also be easily navigable, containing all of the bells and whistles necessary to find what they want quickly.

Encourage Reviews

Reviews are one way for customers to recommend things to one another. If someone is looking for a product and they see that other people like it, they are more likely to buy it. But trust doesn't only come from positivity. Allow people to say negative things about what you're featuring. If you're the one producing the product, respond to the negative feedback showing your plan to improve things and then execute it.

As a retailer, this is especially important because it gives visitors a clear compass of what they should gravitate towards and steer clear from. Remember that everything on the website should have an emphasis on navigation both physically and metaphorically.

Secure Your Checkout Process

When a customer is about to part with their money, it's a moment of vulnerability. They're not only opening their wallet to pull out a wad of cash; they are giving you the details that permanently give a would-be hacker access to their bank account. Today, people know they can trust an online entity if they see a lock symbol on the address bar next to the URL. To get one of these locks, you need to use a proper SSL certificate.

It's well-advised to use SSL for your entire site, especially since Google considers it a ranking signal. SSL also provides a powerful first impression for visitors who see the icon across your web properties. Having SSL across the website can also save you hassle and resources in the long-run as most providers offer SSL certificate warranty protection. This covers your customers from potential losses as a result of suspicious or faulty online transactions performed on your site.

Show Your Human Side

Humanizing a brand that is known for its products more than the people who are under its umbrella is a difficult task. Doing so online makes this even more difficult. But that shouldn't stop you from trying. A responsive and "human" brand can have a strong positive effect on customer loyalty. Adding an "About Us" page gives your company a story. Having a contact page makes you reachable and provides an element of rapport since visitors see that this is a place with an address and a phone number rather than some dubious setup.

If you want to take things a little bit further, be more responsive on social media. Facebook provides a wonderful opportunity for this by letting pages receive messages from people who follow them. Twitter also allows you to respond directly to customers' public tweets. Engaging with the world does more for trust than leaving things up on the shelf.

By doing these things, you become the company that not only sells its products and services but also builds a relationship that is founded on trust and bolstered through professionalism.

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