Creating Trust

By: Mari Peckham

It can be difficult, at best, to do business on the Internet.

Okay, you and I LIVE out here. We have grown to rely and trust the Internet. We have friends. We shop, we bank, we do business.We order take out, we even fall in love. We have found ways to do almost all of our daily tasks out here in cyber space. We hear daily of all of the people signing on for the first time.

So how could it be so hard to sell our wares?

Well, it's the trust factor. Jupiter Communications, one of the leading providers of research on Internet commerce, recently revealed studies that showed 64 percent of online consumers are unlikely to trust a website.

Our customers don't have the advantage of seeing our trustworthy faces. Getting to know us. Developing a relationship with us.

Then how do we go about alleviating the fears of our potential customers? Here are a few suggestions bound to set you on the right path.

  • BE HONEST.

    Don't make promises that you can't keep, or claims that you can't back up.

  • MAKE THEIR INFORMATION ACCESSIBLE AND UPDATABLE.

    Make sure that your customers know what information you gather at your website and what you do with it.

    If you store profiles at your site, make them accessible to your customers or give them away to update it or make changes.

  • HONOR YOUR CUSTOMERS' PRIVACY.

    If you sell directly from your site, it is important that you know, and adhere, to consumer privacy practices. Make sure that your customers understand your secure sales process and that they know what you do with their information (particularly credit card information) after the sale.

  • COMMUNICATE!

    Publish an ezine or newsletter to help customers get to know you better. Host chats and/ or discussion boards and promptly and accurately answer your Email. (This means that you should actually READ your Email before replying!)

  • EDUCATE YOUR CUSTOMER AND OFFER IMPECABLE CUSTOMER SERVICE.

    Make sure that they know how to use your product. Offer quick and responsive support and guidance. If a customer has a problem, don't try to sweep it under the rug! Take care of it as quickly and as graciously as possible. It is a fact that 98 percent of people will continue to use a business even AFTER they have had a problem, if their problem was resolved in a prompt and courteous manner.

  • GUARD YOUR REPUTATION!

    Stress the benefits of your product over another without insulting the other product. Stay clear of the dirty politics tactics. It doesn't do much for your reputation.

  • OFFER MONEY BACK GUARANTEES,

    whenever possible, then honor them quickly.

  • MAKE TESTIMONIALS AVAILABLE,

    and encourage visitors to check with other customers before they purchase products or services from you.

  • BE CLEAR AND COMPLETE WITH YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION.

    Include your business name, address, and phone number. Adding names and pictures of yourself or your employees can help visitors feel more confident and comfortable.

How can we alleviate the fears of our potential customers? Trust is something that takes time to earn. But the more you concentrate on your customer service, and the more responsible you act with their information and concerns, the quicker you will build a loyal customer base.

Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither are successful and worthwhile businesses! Give your customers a reason to trust you, and they will!

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