The central component of any business is possessing a respected and trusted brand. That said, today’s online marketplace and consumer trends have made your online presence one of the most significant factors for building trust and managing a business’ reputation. Maintaining a positive online footprint will bring with it a plethora of opportunities, including attracting leads, maintaining customer relationships, and can even draw top employee talent. Having a powerful and positive online presence is invaluable for building customer trust. Yet, improper management of your online reputation can cause a company to collapse.

It is vital for business owners to understand the nature of the internet. Essentially, the internet is built on a foundation of sharing information, opinions, thoughts, and values. Whether positive or negative, these thoughts and opinions have a dramatic impact on your business and if customers choose to see you as a trusted brand. Ultimately, in today’s world, it is the consumer who has the ultimate power to shape public opinions about your company. The comments and reviews on websites like Facebook, Yelp, Google, Foursquare, and many others have the power to become extremely damaging. However, things are not completely out of your control and there are ways that you can help shape the narrative.

It does not matter if you are a fully online business or a brick-and-mortar company, consumer trust and your online reputation are extremely important to your success. Your trustability, authenticity, and reliability are all components critical in shaping customer perceptions and building success. For that reason, being seen as trustworthy is vital for attracting and retaining customers. By implementing the following strategies, you can immediately start growing customer trust, improve your business’ online reputation, and attract more leads.

1. Provide Easy Access to Customer Service

Today, the first place a customer goes to look for an answer to a question, help with a problem, or to address a concern is online. Ensure that it is easy to find your phone number on your website and social media profiles. Additionally, always respond to emails quickly. However, because they are publicly visible, the most critical is monitoring and responding to customer service requests made on your social channels. One frustrated customer on social media can quickly attract others and go viral. Everything else you do to build customer trust can go sour if you provide poor online customer service.

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2. Build and Maintain a Professional Website

There is a good chance that you would not trust a business that was a cluttered and disorganized mess. Well, neither will the visitors to your business website. It is vital that your website presents a professional image. This will mean having a well-organized web design that will load quickly and is easy to navigate. Moreover, consumers expect that a professional website will provide the same user experience and functionality regardless of the device they are using. So, if you have yet to adopt a mobile-friendly, responsive design, now is the time.

3. Transparency Is a Critical Component of Trust

When your potential lead is about to fill out a form on your contact page or landing page, you are often asking them to voluntarily supply a lot of personal information. So, let them know why you need it and how it will be used. If you are collecting the information for marketing purposes, let them know you will use the information to personalize special offers and that their data will not be sold to third-party marketers. Additionally, consider adding a FAQ section to your website that will give customers information about your policies and practices.

4. Show Off Your Personality

People prefer to do business with those they like and they believe they know. Your customers want to know that there are real people behind the website and social media profile. Therefore, make an effort to communicate with people using the same language that you would in real life. Moreover, don’t be afraid to use your website and social channels to provide some behind the scenes content like photos and videos of employee events, birthdays, baby showers and more.

5. Build and Highlight Social Proof

One of the biggest consumer trends affecting business is the impact of online reviews and ratings. Make sure you are acknowledging and highlighting positive feedback on social media and review websites. It is not only important to address negative concerns. When you acknowledge and thank customers for their positive reviews, it shows that you are paying attention. Also, don’t be afraid to ask people to add their reviews. Posting a positive review is not always a natural next step.

6. Don’t Promise More Than You Can Deliver

Every marketer is guilty of puffery. However, no business can be all things to all people. However, many businesses have a practice of promising to fulfill almost any customer request, and worry about how to get it done later. That said, if you promise something and end up not delivering, you will have created a disappointed customer. In today’s world, angry customers will share their negative experience with family, friends, and followers on social media. The better option is to be honest about what you can deliver or achieve.

When everything is said and done, customer trust is vital for every business. When a person visits your website or social media channel, they are going to do the same as they would walking into your office, showroom, or storefront. A potential customer is going to size you up and determine if you are trustworthy and credible enough to do business with. Once you pass that initial test, you must do everything you can to validate their decision.

Do you have questions? What haven’t we covered yet that is important to you? If you would like to talk about how to create an online business customers’ trust, or a related topic, please contact us