How to Build Trust with Customers Online

When it comes to selling online, gaining customer trust is a serious matter for businesses. Based on a July 2015 poll from the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, security and privacy concerns are a big reason consumers are not doing more online. The survey found that 45 percent of respondents have stopped at least one online transaction due to these concerns, such as purchasing items online, commenting via social media, or making Internet-based banking or investment arrangements. Keeping these statistics in mind, what can businesses do to gain the trust of your visitors and shoppers?

Tell Customers What You’ll Do with Their Information 

One way to gain trust with online customers is to explain how their information is collected and handled when they visit a business’s website. This is accomplished by creating a privacy policy that website visitors can review. A privacy policy explains what information is collected from visitors, and how that information is stored, used, and disclosed, both internally and with third parties. Examples of such sharing include giving consumer details to third-party companies that work with the original website owner to help with order fulfillment or customer surveys.

Another way to gain the trust of website users is to explain how personal information is handled when it is entered on a company’s website and when it is transmitted to data centers. Whether entered via an online contact form or when placing an order, names, emails, shipping and billing addresses, and telephone numbers are common pieces of information that consumers expect to be safeguarded.  When transmitting consumer information, businesses can provide another layer of security by ensuring the green lock appears next to the web address.

Businesses can do this by using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificates or Transport Layer Security (TLS) Certificates to ensure that each user’s session is encrypted. A privacy policy may also describe how the business’s physical security is set up for its data center to reassure consumers their data is at minimal risk of being intercepted by hackers regardless of the stage of transmission.

Let Customers Contact You at Their Convenience 

A business can help establish credibility by creating “About” and “Contact Us” pages on its website. Given the fact that anyone has the opportunity to set up a business presence, providing identifiable and verifiable information can help build trust with visitors and customers.

The “About Us” section may include information about who founded the company and how the company started, along with traditional contact information, such as phone numbers for sales, ordering, ongoing support, and social media contacts. Using verified Twitter accounts of the business itself or select departments can give visitors additional reassurance that they are dealing with the intended company. To gain consumers’ trust, a business’s information can be validated through third-party certification. 

Obtain Independent Verification

Becoming accredited by a third-party agency that’s well known by visitors can help increase trust. Using the Better Business Bureau as an example, consumers will know many details of the company’s past and present business operations. Along with requiring a company to follow a privacy policy and ensuring “secure financial transactions,” businesses must have been in existence for at least six months. Requirements also mandate holding necessary licenses and bonding requirements, along with creating trustworthy advertisements. If online users have any doubt about the legitimacy of a website and its contact details, a business could encourage visitors to follow up with the third-party verifying agency to show the business is committed to honesty and transparency with reputable, independent business agencies.

Sources for the study, statistics, and the Better Business Bureau:

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