Consumers are increasingly cynical – there’s a distinct lack of trust in government, institutions and organisations. We’re constantly subjected to bad news and stories of the average Joe being treated badly by banks, insurers, telco’s, utilities, airlines – the list goes on. As a result, it’s become vitally important that companies build trust with consumers if they hope to build relationships, and ultimately sales and loyalty.
Trust is built on delivering the brand promise at each customer touch-point, and each interaction needs to be a consistent and positive experience. In many instances, the website is the first and chief customer touch-point. Can you build trust through your website? Yes, you can and here’s how:
BE SIMPLE, TRANSPARENT AND HUMAN
The KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid) principle applies here. Make your website easy to navigate and purchase from. Write in simple English and don’t use jargon. Sound like a person and not a corporate. Explain what the consumer is going to get and not going to get.
Provide a back-story so that visitors get to know the humans that started the company. And please make it easy to find your contact details – a universal pet peeve: firms that not only make their contact details difficult to find, but don’t include an email address. I’m online – I don’t want to call, I want to email and communicate digitally! And of course, respond in a timely manner.
It goes without saying but your website needs to be HTTPS secure and advise visitors that you’re collecting cookies.
INCLUDE REAL REVIEWS AND TESTIMONIALS
If you do include these (and you should if you want to build credibility), they need to be real and not doctored by your marketing or communications team – readers can see through this.
Reviews – good, bad and in-between – help people to feel more comfortable with your brand and help you to improve your offering. Don’t be scared of reviews, they give potential purchasers comfort in knowing the company is authentic and that customers are actually buying from you and have a voice.
I recommend using images of the actual people that wrote the testimonials if you can obtain them. Seeing a quote written on a page is nowhere near as powerful than accompanying it with an image. And if you can’t get the photo, ensure the testimonial hasn’t been changed and that it’s 100% authentic, preferably including the full name of the customer.
DESCRIBE YOUR BACK STORY AND HOW YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Some people may never have heard of your firm before, so it’s important to show you’re stable and credible – no one wants to buy something from a company that looks like it was started yesterday and may fold the next.
Include information about the founders and the management team, with bios and pictures. Consumers want to see the people behind the brand and understand their journey. Businesses often use timelines to show how the company has developed and grown over time – this also shows stability and credibility.
Whether your company is global or local demonstrate how it helps the customer and the community. Highlight CSR or charitable efforts, investment in training and developing local people, helping to tackle local issues.
BUILD A COMMUNITY
If you’re collecting consumer information such as emails, phone numbers or demographics, you’re not just building your database, you’re also building your business community. It’s imperative that you reach out to your community quickly and on a regular (but not too regular!) basis to keep them engaged. Engagement turns into relationships, and relationships turn into sales.
Content builds communities. Keep your content relevant and updated to give people a reason to keep coming back and interacting with your website and brand. Make it easy for them to share with others by including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and other social media links. This also means you need to be active on social media – not necessarily every channel – find out where your target audience spends most of their time and invest in that.
TRUST IS KING
No one is going to buy your product or service if they don’t trust your brand. Without trust there is nothing, so ensure you deliver on your brand promise and build trust through every customer interaction – from SEO and SEM, through to website, to purchase and post-purchase. If you can successfully master you’ll have loyal customers that become advocates for your brand.
By Natalie Bennett
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