Building trust with your online customers involves plenty of relationship building. Whilst it’s fundamentals remain about the same as traditional consumers, your brand needs to adjust accordingly to match with the competitively fast-paced internet sharing.
Since trust is especially crucial in the online world, I’ve come up with 4 favorites ways I normally use to build trust with my customers:
- Strong PR Campaigns
- Disclose Yourself to the Market
- No Hidden Fees. No Hidden Agenda. Be Honest
- My Final Two Cents
Strong PR Campaigns
“A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front page ad” – Richard Branson.
PR campaign is able to help build your business reputation much better than marketing. Why? Simply because PR strategies often drive customers to your site based on referrals – the most trusted and cheapest form of acquiring new customers. Human beings tend to trust a friend’s recommendation to buy your product compared to believing the messages included in advertisements (expensive). Also, it takes more marketing effort compared to PR in order to build trust with customers.
Here’s several cost-effective PR strategies which I’d recommend from my own personal experience:
- Offer membership programs to selected friends and family members in promoting your business.
- Collaborate with Social Media Influencers – Send the influencers your products for them to promote, update their pages using the photos you’ve prepared, request pricing for their services or for FREE if you’re lucky!
- Offer Interview with Magazines – Get yourself and business placed in an article of the magazine.
- Contribute Articles – If you feel your business provides solution to the industry, approach organizations and offer to write articles on related topics.
- Social Events – Organize social events such as bbq with customers, bowling tournaments, charity activities (soup kitchen etc).
Disclose Yourself to the Market
This is a no-brainer. People tend to trust you more when your business is fully disclosed – business wise. In other words, provide as much information to the customers in the aspects of your location, the people who are working in your organization, contact details and more.
By having your business providing much info of itself to the public, it creates a sense of security among customers knowing that they can simply visit the business venue in a case for settlement or dispute of the service you provided.
Testimonials is another great way to improve people’s confidence in your business. It represents three important things:
- It shows that people are buying what you’re selling – This is important for new businesses since most people are not willing to risk being the first person to try your product. They’d rather wait and see what others experienced.
- It gives insight to potential customers the experience of buying into the product. The experience they learned from others will help them to get themselves prepared and know what to expect buying from your business – since people generally do not like getting surprises when buying.
- It helps the public to visualize whether the customers were satisfied with the services provided or whether there were issues surfaced during purchasing or delivering.
Now that you understand how important testimonials are, time to get these crucial feedbacks to be shared by your customers. I’ve heard many businesses encourage their customers to leave testimonials but failed miserably despite of great product service. This occurs mainly because they do not leave enough reason as to why they should leave feedbacks.
Give them incentives to leave testimonials on your website. Provide them membership cards, special discount codes and product offers; and invitation to events organized by your business too! By doing so, your customers will be more inclined to leave testimonials. Just don’t forget to share these testimonials in all social media platforms at your disposal to extend your reach to the targeted market.
No Hidden Fees. No Hidden Agenda. Be Honest.
“Truth Creates Trust.” – Marilyn Suttle.
Have you ever found yourself a cool website selling products or services at better rates but turns out you are charged additionally at the checkout page making you look foolish? Yeah, I feel we all have. For me, apart from looking like a fool, it devastated me to never come back as I feel was tricked by the business.
This has led me to include Honesty as important to build trust with your customer. Never ever keep details of your product hidden or at the end before payment/checkout. Apart from caught by surprise, customers also tend to feel betrayed as they were not informed about all of these hidden fees or agendas in the first place.
Therefore, always remember to share all the vital details to your product or service at the earliest. Even if you reveal additional fees to your customers, they will definitely appreciate your honesty and begins to trust you more making future transactions more possible.
My Final Two Cents…
Trust is not something you can build despite having the best strategies or resources at your disposal. It’s all about building relationships. Like every relationship, it takes time and hard work for trust to develop. There will be ‘ups and downs’ and sometimes it will definitely make you feel you are placed in a difficult position by the customers. My advice, don’t think much about the end-result. Think about making the journey a great experience instead, you’ll be surprised by not only how much you enjoy working, but also by how much return you’ll get in return.