Last Updated on 6 months by Usman Sheikh
What Should Businesses Do Today To Establish Trust Online?
Establishing Trust Online
With easy access to the internet, businesses have to work harder to establish trust online today more than ever.
While most of the companies all around the world have been trying to gain consumers’ online trust, the truth is that the constant news of online security breaches, identity theft, and major scandals like Facebook-Cambridge Analytica gives this trust a shake, to say the least.
While your business may have nothing to do with Facebook, the reality is that you can still get affected by it. Especially in terms of the trust that consumers have in the brands you lead or represent.
So, what can you do to maintain customer’s trust online?
Establishing Trust Online Takes Time & Commitment
Why is trust so important?
The reality is that people, end consumers, and other brands will only do business with those they know, like, and trust. When a consumer has the perception (or the trust) that a particular company sells good products, they will be more willing to buy from them even if their most direct competitor is selling the same product at an inferior price.
And this is only because they trust this specific business.
Trust makes brands. The level of trust creates the differentiation that allows companies to sell the same product solution or service at different prices. It’s your commitment to establishing trust for your existing or new customers that will allow your brand to become more profitable over-time.
A survey was done by Super Office – CRM service provider of 1,920 business professionals in 2020 showing that customer experience was the most important factor business leaders over the next 5 years:
Image Source: SuperOffice.com. Customer Experience Statistics. Published December 11, 2020
So if you are not making customer experience a priority over the next five years, you may be missing out on an opportunity to build trust with your customers (while your competitors are doing just that).
Another report published by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) indicated that customers are willing to pay upwards of 16% more for a better customer experience and become loyal (that means repeat business, referral business, and upsell opportunities).
To top it off, bad customer experience works just the other way; bad customer experience drives customers away – fast!
1 in 3 respondents mentioned in the same PwC study that they will walk away from the brand after only one bad customer experience.
Source: Consumer Intelligence Series Customer Experience Report. Published in 2018. The survey conducted in 2017/2018. Pg. 5.
Your Customer Experience Should Have Trust Built-In
Establishing trust online is not an easy task. And we didn’t even need to experience the Facebook scandal that still hurts us today to see what immediate impact it will have. Most companies that experience a scandal at that scale may not be able to recover from it.
When a consumer goes to your web presence (whether that is a website, a social page, or an eCommerce store), they can gather information, even unconsciously. Consumers can directly evaluate if the brand is friendly, whether there are any personal touches and care given to the customer to enhance the customer experience.
Every customer touchpoint online, whether it is the design that has to be in-line with today’s standards, the copy, the promise, and ‘feel’ must speak to the customers with their values and norms of today is critical to the buyer’s journey.
So, how can your business maintain customer trust online?
#1: Be Accessible:
No matter if a customer contacts you through your website, email, social media, or any other way, make sure that you are available for them.
While some customers can have real questions about the products you are selling, others may just want to know if there is a real person behind the business, someone they can talk to, engage with.
With customer experience and collecting feedback or gathering, data should not be left to a handful of employees in IT. According to research by Harvard Business Review – touchpoints with the customer should take an “All Hands On Board” approach. This cross-functional approach allows the company to become front and center to the business and focus on addressing customer pain points in a quicker time frame.
More than 50% of Websites Are Accessed Online via Mobile
Being accessible also means that your web presence is accessible to all audiences across all devices and people with all types of disabilities.
When websites are not rendering properly on mobile or other devices outside of desktops, then the brand has lost a serious opportunity to build trust. According to Statista.com – approx. half of the web traffic is accessed via mobile devices worldwide.
Making the web accessible benefits individuals, brands, and society at large
When your brand showcases that it is committed to improving customer experience by making it accessible to people with disabilities – it shows the world it cares about inclusion and values that are important for consumers today more than ever. This then allows for increased brand awareness, increased website usage, better search engine optimization, and visibility.
All of the above impacts your brand’s perception and increases the positive image. An increased positive image helps builds trust and loyalty.
You can learn about other benefits from W3.org – Website Accessibility Initiative and the business case for developing web accessibility for your organization.
Having a website that is accessible comes together factoring in such things as additional functional enhancements (or plugins), factoring in web browser capabilities, and among other tools. It is usually a good idea to capture website accessibility when doing a redesign to avoid re-doing work after the website is launched.
#2: Focus On Reliablilty & Consistency:
Consumers are led by emotions, not logic. Ensuring that the product or solution that you sell is not only reliable but also has quality, places you one step ahead of your competitors. After all, when your customers receive the product, experience or service they buy from you, you want to make sure that they are not overwhelmed but at the same time can see the value in the exchange.
It is a delicate balance.
Unless you are not qualifying your products upfront and stating that this is an innovation, selling sub-par products in the market will only negatively impact your brand.
If you are new then showcase it, be proud of it, and solicit feedback to improve.
However, there should be elements in the online experience that meet the standards of good user experience today.
Source: Consumer Intelligence Series Customer Experience Report. Published in 2018. The survey was conducted in 2017/2018. Pg. 13.
Having a web presence that looks like it belongs in the 90s will not fly in the 2020s. However, if you run out of inventory temporarily, it may be acceptable to experience if and when just starting. However, have regular stock-outs or delivering an inconsistent customer experience is not a sustainable solution for your brand.
The above chart showcases that consistency in brand experience and unfriendly or bad service harms the brand way more than not being known or having celebrities back your brand.
Don’t get me wrong, celebrity or influencer endorsements can and do work, but not as much as providing a friendly and intuitive online user experience, consistency in branding, and a great service-oriented attitude in helping your customer!
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#3: Be Honest:
When you know that your product won’t suit someone’s needs, just tell the consumer directly.
Your products won’t please everyone and they are usually not tailored for everyone.
While this means losing a sale today, it will bring you a lot more sales in the future.
Honesty is always a good policy and consumers love to deal with businesses that they can trust.
Tools To Help You Build Customer Trust Online
At Web Worx Labs, we have some resources for marketers and business leaders to get a quick idea on where they stand when it comes to User Experience, Accessibility, Mobile Friendliness & Search Discoverability
You can take a peek and test your online touch-points on all your pages for your brand here:
We are committed to helping brands improve their customer experience online and grow with the power of digital. If you need help with any of the easy-to-use tools above or have questions on what some of the insights shared, reach out and we will be happy to help.
As the above shows, building trust isn’t something that you do overnight. It takes time for your business to be trusted by consumers.
Nonetheless, it is all up to you.
It depends on how you show your business to your customers, how you deal with them, the commitment to providing quality of your products, among other factors.
So, take a moment to do a thorough review of your current offerings and document objectively of where your quality stacks up vs. the market. Our tools above help with that.
Understanding first is key to building trust online over time. After all, you already know that consumers will only buy from businesses they know, like, and trust.
Do you have any questions on the insights and analysis shared in this blog? Do you feel that customer experience is important now more than ever? Or other factors more important for businesses than establishing trust.
You can respond in the comments section and we would love your feedback and thoughts. Or reach out and we will walk you through the FREE audit.
Happy trust building!