As I develop an online marketplace for authenticated pre-owned luxury watches, people often ask me the following question: How are you going to develop trust with your customers?
The question is certainly very relevant. If eRelyx can’t develop trust with its customers, the business is bound to fail.
Unfortunately, there isn’t one thing alone that eRelyx can do to gain trust. Trust must be earned through a combination of activities/strategies. Here is my take on what online businesses like eRelyx can do to earn the trust of their customers:
- Be accessible to your customers. An email address isn’t enough. When push comes to shove, people want to speak to a real person. Put a phone number on the website.
- Give your company a face. Post pictures of the management team (and others) on your website. Customers like to know that they are dealing with real people – not robots.
- Look professional. If you are trying to build a real business, spend some money/time on your website. Looks aren’t everything, but I’d be more inclined to trust a well-built, polished website as opposed to one that’s filled with clip art and held together by tape and bubblegum.
- Embrace social media. I spent hours and hours on the phone interviewing web development firms. One of the things that convinced me to hire the firm that I did was their Facebook page. The firm had hundreds of followers who endorsed their services. Like it or not, Facebook and Twitter matter.
- (Really 4a) Let your customers do your talking for you. Sure, you can tell people that you’re trust-worthy until you’re blue in the face, but it’s more credible coming from your customers. Have your current customers write testimonials. Tell prospective customers to post questions/concerns on your Facebook page or Twitter. Current customers not responding? Then you probably need to do more to exceed their expectations.
- Partner with established, credible companies. If possible, develop partnerships with other trusted brands. Ever heard the expression, “Guilt by association”? The reverse (positive) is also true.
- Blog. And be yourself. It’s hard for customers to relate to you if all you blog about is your business, products, and/or services. Too many people blog solely to increase their search rankings. That’s important, but why not write about stuff that will also make your readers relate to you as a person? Make them know that you’re real – that you have real feelings, real emotions. You’ve given your business a face by posting your picture. Now give it a heart with your blog.
- Exceed expectations. You need to exceed your customers’ expectations so that they’ll help out with points 4 and 5. The goal is not to develop satisfied customers. The goal is to develop customers who promote your business.
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