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8 Ways To Develop Trust Online

Nov 29, 2007
In a world before the Internet, email, teleconferencing, web conferencing, and fax communications most business was done in person. People met face to face. They communicated their ideas and their character to one another with words, voice inflection, facial expressions, body language, and in their handshake. Through all of this communication, spoken and otherwise, a relationship developed and trust could be earned. Much of today's business is done without ever meeting anyone. Even the briefest of relationships one might experience with the saleslady at the department store can be avoided by ordering this year's holiday sweaters online. So without all of that human contact, how does one build trust with their customers?

Since so many people will first find your website when looking for products or services that you offer, this is where you have to start building trust. Even the most basic elements of your site can put your visitors at ease and start to develop trust.

1. The colors you choose will set the mood on your page. Choose colors that give the impression of professionalism. Try blues, grays, black, and white and limit your use of louder colors such as red, orange, and yellow. They have their place on your site for things that you would like to draw attention to but should be used carefully when creating the
actual color theme for your site.

2. Keep your contact information clearly visible. You should have multiple ways you can be contacted including a toll fee number and email form, as well as online instant chat if possible. Knowing that you will be available if they need assistance will put your customers at ease.

3. Your website content should not be product driven but customer driven. Quality content that is honest and helpful will contribute to your customer's level of trust in your company. Help educate them not just about your product or service, but also be free with your knowledge about the industry as a whole. For example, a real estate agent might also include information on their site about finding the right mortgage. A site that markets products to home based businesses might have other information that would be helpful to them such as setting up a home office or establishing a business entity to protect their assets.

4. Tell people about you and your company. Have an About Us section on your site that tells the history and mission statement of your company. If appropriate have pictures and bios of employees or partners. Keep this information updated with press releases announcing what's new with you and your company. These could be new products, features, employees, events or what you are doing in the community.

5. Testimonials can be faked. To make them more real to your customers use photos of the person giving the testimonial, include their scanned signature or have audio testimonials instead. Doing these things will give your testimonials more clout and further trust.

You can continue to build on the trust that you have started to develop with your webpage through your communications with your customers.

6. Have a toll free number and friendly, knowledgeable customer service staff to answer it. This might either be your first or second chance to establish yourself as a professional and reliable company in the eyes of your customers. Take advantage of it by showing your customers that you are a professional, trustworthy company that takes their relationships with their customers seriously. Do this by having the phone answered professionally every time and if your customers have to be sent to voicemail make sure that their calls are returned within hours, not days.

7. Blogging is a great way to communicate with your customers. It allows you to not only speak to them, but for them to speak to you. Use your blog to build relationships and share knowledge with your customers, not just tout your products and services. Allow people to comment and ask questions to start a meaningful dialogue to further trust.

8. Continue to share your knowledge with newsletters. Newsletters are a great way to continue to build trust even after the sale is done. It reconfirms for the customer that you are still there to help them if they need it.

When you can't look your customers in the eye as you shake their hand, it can be difficult to earn their trust. However, with the right approach online, you can still reach out to your customers and give them the confidence that your company is worth their time and ultimately their purchase.
About the Author
Brandi Cummings is an expert author on the unique issues facing small and home based businesses. Visit http://www.Freedom800.com for more information about using your toll free number and phone system to establish a professional and trusting relationship with your customers.
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