Trust – The Core of Internet Business
Without trust, you have nothing. Why? Because it is the only thing that stands between a world of chaos and lawlessness vs one that is trustworthy. Trust is no different online. In a world filled with scams and lies, trust is more important than ever when it comes to selling online. Sure, there are other important factors like site design and user experience, but without a level of trust between you and the buyer, you won’t get a single sale.
So, how do you build trust online?
As they say… it takes years to build a reputation, but only minutes to ruin it. If you want people to trust you, you better say what you mean and do what you say.
Businesses need to keep their messaging the same across all sites and public forums. Don’t say one thing on your Twitter account, and then say something totally contradictory on your blog. You’ll be seen as a hypocrite and lose instant credibility. Are your products or services in line with your business model and principles? Are you representing your services accurately?
For example, if your business principle says you are a family-friendly business, but you publish illegal or adult content on your social media profile, you are not being true to your words. Or, if your slogan is something to the effect of having the lowest prices in your industry, but you are actually one of the most expensive, then your words become less believable.
Much like your messaging, your web design should also be consistent across your entire website. Try to be consistent with your color theme, layout and font type, so the user feels some comfort and familiarity with your site. Drastic changes in design may lead your visitor to believe they have been redirected to a different site. Furthermore, sending users to pages on different domain names may also turn people off. This all correlates to trust.
Deliver on Your Promise
If a business has offered a guarantee or promise to a customer, they should do everything they can to follow through on their word. Not delivering on your promises, make you look wishy-washy and unreliable. Would you want to buy from a business that can’t keep their promises? Make your words mean something!
Honesty is Best Policy
I see so many businesses these days that lack simple honesty. I’ve worked for businesses that blatantly lie to their customers to protect their “ass”ets. If a business screws up on a customer’s order, they need to come clean. Making excuses and coming up with stories to justify the screw up isn’t going to make you feel good about yourself, not is it the right thing to do. You might have to fork out some money to clean up the mess that your business caused, but trust me, you will gain the respect and trust of that customer. In a time when most businesses seem to be unethical and dishonest, do the right thing and stand out.
Purposely hiding pertinent information from your customers is not only unethical, but also can create problems later on. For example, if you intend to charge your customer on a recurring monthly basis, and don’t disclose this information upfront, it will cause issues if the customer hasn’t read the fine print. Sure, it is the customer’s responsibility to read the print, but the reality is, this does not happen. They expect upfront pricing and disclosure.
By providing excellent customer service, consistently, you’ll turn your customers into advocates. A customer that believes in you and your service will be more willing to share their positive experiences with others, both on and offline. This is called word-of-mouth. A disgruntled customer is far more likely to bad mouth you and leave negative reviews on review sites.