The Ultimate Guide to Building Trust with Your Customers Online

The Ultimate Guide to Building Trust with Your Customers Online

Online business concept

By Roman Marvaniuk

Building a successful company depends on many different factors. There’s your product, of course, as well as your ability to price it effectively, and position it so that it’s in front of your target customers when they’re ready to buy.

But while product-market fit might get you sales, lasting business success comes down to more intangible factors, such as the way customers feel about your brand or how much they trust you to deliver what you’ve promised.

According to Rare Consulting, “While general purchases are driven by price (81%), quality (80%), and convenience (55%), loyalty is about likeability (86%) and trust (83%).” Reader’s Digest’s 2015 Trusted Brands Survey confirms this, finding that 79% of participants “would choose a brand that’s been identified as ‘trusted’ over another brand when product quality and price are similar.”

Simply put, your price, quality, or convenience might score you sales, but your brand’s likeability and trust win you relationships. The following are different techniques you can use to develop that all-important trust with your customers online.

Define your brand promise

You can’t create a trustworthy brand if your business model is built on deceiving consumers or tricking customers into buying from you—(at least, you can’t in the long run).

Take the example of Craigslist, which data from Alignable suggests is one of the least trusted brands in the hiring space. You can say plenty of good things about the way Craigslist democratized hiring and peer-to-peer selling, but given the number of scams that continue to be perpetrated across the network—despite internal crackdowns—you’d likely call it anything but trustworthy.

Building customer trust begins with the process of defining who your company is and what it stands for. Researchers at Gallup call this your company’s “brand promise,” and define it as representing “everything a company stands for, it is the unique statement of what the company offers, what separates it from its rivals and what makes it worthy of customers’ consideration.”

Unfortunately, Gallup reports that “only half of customers believe that the companies they do business with always deliver on what they promise. When asked, only 27% of employees strongly agree that they always deliver on the promises they make to their customers.”

So what does an effective brand promise look like? The good news is it doesn’t have to be lengthy or complicated. Stella Service highlights several examples from well-known companies:

  • Geico: “15 minutes or less can save you 15% or more on car insurance.”
  • Nike: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.”
  • Starbucks: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit—one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”
  • Marriott: “Quiet luxury. Crafted experiences. Intuitive service.”
  • Walmart: “Save money. Live better.”

Some of these brand promises focus on financial savings; others focus on experience. In all cases, however, the advantages the company offers and the promise it makes to consumers are clearly and concisely stated.

Spend some time iterating your brand promise. The specific wording of your statement may evolve over time, but the benefit you’re offering to your customers—not just in terms of your specific products or services, but in the broader problems you’ll solve—should be made clear from the start.

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