C-Suite Network™

Seven Ways to Build Online Customer Trust

How do you build a relationship of trust with your customers? It’s easiest when you can connect with them in person – you can read their expressions as you interact and more easily understand their needs and their perspective. Even in phone conversations, the customer’s tone of voice can help you ascertain their feelings. But what about building trust in an online business?

Building trust online is different. Not necessarily more difficult, but there are certain things to consider when building an online business. There are companies that have mastered the art of building trust online and have the reputation and accolades to prove it. Some of these, such as Apple and Sephora, are ranked at the top for both their traditional and online customer service, while others, including Zappos and Amazon, originated online and built trust through smart practices to rise to the top. Here are some basic ways to build customer trust online:

1. Keep it simple. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and go through the motions of navigating your website and placing an order. Is the website easy to understand and simple to navigate?

2. Be accessible. People do business with people. Offer multiple channels through which a customer can reach you for support or questions – a call center, email, texting, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

3. Post contact information prominently. Put it on every page of your website. Make it easy for a customer to call, email, or connect with you instantly.

4. Keep telephone hold times to a minimum. Customers who have to wait on hold get frustrated and feel as if the company doesn’t care enough to staff properly. You might want to make use of technology that can let the customer know how long the wait will be and give the option of an automatic call-back.

5. Respond quickly on social channels. When a customer contacts you through social media, you should respond within minutes – not hours or days. Continuously monitor your social media channels.

6. Share testimonials from happy customers. This social proof from others will help build trust and increase potential customers’ confidence in doing business with you.

7. Ask your customers to post online reviews. Encourage reviews from not only those who have had a great customer experience throughout, but also any customers who may have had a problem and were satisfied with your handling of the issue.

Shep Hyken is a customer service and experience expert, award-winning keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling business author. For information, contact 314-692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs, go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken

Shep Hyken

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