3 Ways to Build Trust with Customers
Trust and distrust mark the difference in probability for gain and probability for loss. With the various advertising and marketing resources available to independent e-commerce retailers, bringing visitors to your site is fairly easy. Earning and maintaining trust is the difficult part. Let’s delve into what trust actually is, and determine what actionable steps you can take to earn the trust of your customers.
What is trust?
Merriam-Webster defines trust as, “belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc.” Simply put, trust is a multi-faceted assurance in the capability and utility of something. Fro independent e-commerce retailers, trust comes in many different levels for consumers.
The first level is trust in your store. When visitors come to your landing page, does it appear genuine and professional? Are there grammatical errors? The second level is trust in your products. Do you descriptions match the images used for your products? Does your product come with a warranty or money-back guarantee? The final level is trust in your brand. This is developed through customer reviews, testimonials, and word-of-mouth.
Now that a concrete definition of trust has been established, we can look at three ways to build trust with your customers.
As with our personal relationships, reliability is the foundation of trust between you and your customers. The first step in proving to be a reliable source of products/services is keeping promises. Money-back guarantees and return policies are the easiest ways to show customers that you keep your word. Avoid using ‘fine print’ to deceive visitors or justify shady business practices. Many businesses in the past have used hidden fees and other questionable practices to entrap customers into a payment agreement, and it’s just bad business.
Consistency is the second most effective way to build a persona of reliability with your customers. From response times to turnaround for shipping, be consistent. There are truly no days off when it comes to managing your online store. However, simply being consistent is not enough. Consistently providing high-quality products, services, etc., is the key to demonstrating your reliability to your customers.
Truth and trust go hand in hand. You cannot avoid the truth and expect trust, and in the same sense, you can’t trust someone who isn’t truthful. Customers are always watching when it comes to being honest and upfront. Avoid making any guarantees or statements that are not 100% true. As albert Einstein once said, “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.” Whether it’s falsifying your product description or buying likes/followers on social media, dishonesty can be a business killer.
Owning up to your own mistakes can create an atmosphere of truthfulness between customers and store owners. If an order is not handled properly or does not meet expected standards, take responsibility for it. At the same time, don’t be afraid to say no. Telling the truth does not mean becoming a ‘Yes Man’.
This is often times the most difficult trait to follow. In a world of viral videos and popular memes, it is easy to get caught up in the hype and try to ride the wave of popularity. However, this does not provide long-term stability and will often cause your brand to be labeled as ‘try-hards’ or ‘fakes’. Remember who you are as a brand, and do your best to avoid straying away from that narrative.
You won’t see Nike or Tom Ford posting memes because that’s not who they are as a brand. The reason brands like Wendy’s have seen so much success if because they have stayed true to their brand image. Of course, nothing is wrong with staying trendy and relevant. But going the extra mile to try and be funny or relatable can leave a bad taste in customers’ mouths.
Treat your relationship with customers as you would with any person in your life. Provide an equal amount of give and take to ensure that the relationship remains healthy and beneficial to both parties. Approaching customers in this manner is a guaranteed way to build trust and turn one-time buyers into lifelong, loyal customers.