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Published 30 November 2008

Effective ways to build trust online

Published by Tom Wilson on 30 November 2008
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It is in fact every buyer’s most frequently asked question” Is this online business portal trustworthy?” Trust is in fact the prerequisite for the success of any online E-business and a precursor for the success of any such enterprise. Simple, if your buyers cannot trust you with their card number or their money, they surely will not buy from you, nor will they recommend you to anyone else!

Whether you agree or not every genuine site on the web has numerous other bogus sites to fight with. It is in fact very difficult for a buyer to distinguish between a genuine one and a bogus site .To enhance customer trust and allow users to make transactions on your site; simple techniques can be used. So many “fly-by-night” E-business operators have really eroded the trust of the customers. Therefore, it becomes imperative for every good E-business to prove to their clients that they are honest, genuine sellers and that they are not out there to con anyone.

To earn the trust of their clients is an uphill task, one that is made easy through a few simple techniques.

This article deals with five tools for bringing back the trust of your online customers.

Certifications of Security

Whether we are fond of it or not, we know the bitter truth that Net is not a very safe place for monetary transactions and can easily be hacked in. Therefore you have to keep on reminding the customer through out the pages that “security measures” have been installed in the site and especially in the “To Buy” page , one has to repeatedly give the message that this site is “safe and secure” for transactions.

Remember you can never have “too much security”, so you are free to install firewalls and other safety measure and project them to your clients as well. Let your buyers know that they have entered a safe and protected site.

Some sites, do put in the symbol of the lock to show that they are secure on their web page in the bottom right corner .This signifies “Security”.

Simple techniques like a ‘Word Verification Code’ at the time of making the payment makes the customer feel secure.

You can use certifications like VeriSign’, ‘TRUSTe’, ‘BBB Online etc to make your site safe from information theft.

If you have it, flaunt it!

Using the online shopping cart process

Ordering via email seems to be the most Untrustworthy option and buyers seem to shy away from it. Hence, avoid this type of shopping process. Turn to those processes that say ’Click here to Order’ and it takes you to the shopping cart where you can choose all your stuff and bill it together. This shows to your buyers that you have gone that extra mile to make your site secure.

Let the process be simple because a lengthy and complicated system, makes the customer logout without completing the transaction. This dropout rate according to one such study could be as high as 30 out of every 100 persons who visit your site for genuine purchases. An effective shopping process can minimize this vastly.

Displaying the logos

Another highly effectual trust- builder tool is to display prominently all the logos of the credit cards that the site accepts. These could be Master card, Visa, or any other card. This shows you are a genuine seller.

If your site is open to customers globally, then do put in a currency converter. Customers are often angry and disillusioned if they end up paying more than they expected hence, let them use the currency converter to see the real cost of a product.

Currency conversion in real-time allows them to see exactly what they have to pay.

Clear Contact Information

Never commit the cardinal sin of hiding behind email ids or Post Box numbers as it arouses suspicion in your clients. Give bona fide contact information complete with full postal address, telephone numbers, fax number, email ID, under the “contact us” link so that they may know you are genuine and not just another fraudulent company.

If you have a presence across various nations then add in their complete addresses along with telephone numbers and the office address in each country as well.

State your policies

All professional online sellers place their policies right in the beginning in their site. This includes Return Policy, incase the product is not up to the mark and Delivery Policy for the delivery of the product to the buyer’s address. These go a long way in building customer trust.

Policies that are stated clearly show a professional and ethical business attitude. The most common problem faced by online shoppers is the delay in goods reaching their destination with no word from the seller. Sometimes when the goods are damaged, there is no one to turn to. All these problem areas must be tackled in the beginning and policies stated clearly, so that the buyer is sure of the service he will get.

Every successful E-business entrepreneur must spell the delivery time schedule and his company’s money-back policy for online purchases.

Give genuine testimonials

Internet research has clearly shown that online buyers rely extensively on testimonials given by other satisfied users before buying a product. Give the phone numbers of your customers (after prior permission) with all of your recommendations, reviews and customer testimonials.

Studies show that most online buyers have found sites only after family and friends recommended them.

Fifty two percent of the net buyers said that they attached great value to consumer reviews; and an overwhelming 93 percent said they would recommend online shopping to others only if they were fully satisfied with the site.

It is, therefore, a good idea to create a section on your site through which your customers can write their own testimonials for others to see.

Although there are many shady businesspersons on the net, yet it opens up a world of opportunities fro the serious sellers who really want to excel in their E-business. By following these simple yet effective techniques, they can jack up their trust index amongst their customers and rake in huge profits.

A market survey puts the Buyer to Customer market on the net as being $17 billion in the year 2007 alone! So cash in!

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