Beneficial and long-lasting relationships between companies and their customers are built on trust, which begins with the first interactions audiences experience online. Great online experiences inspire trust within the reader, establishing a relationship that can yield continued sales and advocacy toward other potential customers. According to a survey by Concerto Marketing Group and Research Now, 83 percent of customers who trust a brand will recommend the company to others and 82 percent will continue to use that brand frequently.
But what can inspire trust in a time where audiences are more wary of what they find online than ever before? The following four methods can help both brand new visitors and long-time customers trust a company’s online presence and have a positive impact on the long-term goals of a business.
1. Build Trust Through Omnichannel Customer Service
There are many ways that a company can demonstrate to customers that it truly cares, but customer service is the most direct and beneficial one. By providing beneficial customer service both online and in person, companies can directly improve the trust of their audience. According to the Institute of Customer Service, a 10% increase in customer satisfaction scores will lead to a 12% increase in trust from customers.
Customer service can come in a variety of forms, but today’s consumers expect easy to access online support more than ever. By providing your customers with service through online chat, phone consultations and in-person care, you can ensure that they feel secure and are more likely to trust in both your product and long-term relationship.
2. Designs that Match Content
Design has a subconscious impact on how audiences approach a website, including how much they inherently trust the information they are given by a brand. The Stanford Web Credibility Project found that 46 percent of the consumers they surveyed assessed the credibility of a website based in part on the overall visual design of a site. This included layout, typography, font size and color schemes used on the websites they reviewed.
This does not necessarily mean that a great looking website is what encourages trust the most. While a pleasing design is an important part of any company’s online presence, how a website looks should appropriately match the focus of an organization. For example, childcare websites should reflect a family friendly layout and color choice while a government organization’s site should be professional and free from artistic flourishes. What matter most is a well thought-out design that ensures visitors that they are in the right place for what they want.
Learn more with "Four Ways Design Builds Customer Trust."
3. Value Audience Opinion
Allowing your community to have their voices heard can help earn a greater degree of trust when it is leveraged properly. This can come in the form of fielding negative feedback on social media in professional, considerate ways, as well as through encouraging online reviews. According to a study by Nielsen, 68 percent of people trust online customer reviews, which is a large increase from the seven percent in 2007. Providing high-quality products and services can result in strong customer reviews, which in turn boosts future trust from consumers.
Importantly, valuing the opinions of your audience and making necessary improvements when needed will show that they are heard and cared about. The company-customer relationship goes both ways, so investing in and valuing customer input will help encourage healthy feedback.
4. News & Resource Two-Step
Websites typically distribute two types of content: news and resources, which should work in tandem with one another. News-style content provides information on the latest relevant information and can be allowed to go out of date, as these are often time-sensitive pieces. This can come in the form of press releases, blogs and more, which help to keep audiences updated and bring new traffic to the site. However, these pieces are designed to push toward resource content. Resource content is evergreen and should be updated when needed to reflect the latest developments in order to remain a reliable source of truth. This comes in the form of landing pages, whitepapers and research studies, which provide reliable and useful information that can be useful for audience members year after year.
Together, news content and resources work together to bring readers to the site and drive them toward helpful information, which encourages trust and a frequent return to the site when in need of support and insight.
The Benefits of Audience Trust
By establishing trust in your brand from consumers, a company can have a higher likelihood of customer retention and repeat purchases. According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, a loyal customer is worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase on average due to their likelihood to spend more in repeat purchases and the lower cost of retention compared to acquiring a new customer. These high value customer relationships all start with establishing trust.