The number one reason online customers don't make a purchase isn't price; it's trust.
Market research group Taylor Nelson Sofres has found that customers cancel 70% of online purchases due to lack of trust. Brick and mortar store have the advantage with shoppers because they can offers opportunities to see and touch a product, instilling confidence in potential customers. But online stores must work much harder to gain trust. To do so, ecommerce brands must understand how customers make judgments about brands throughout the buyer journey.
How shoppers perceive your customer experience is the number one factor which determines how much they trust you. Salesforce reports that:
- 92% of online customers are substantially less trusting of online businesses which offer inconsistent service.
- 45% will abandon an online purchase if a question or problem is not addressed promptly.
- A customer is 4 times more likely to abandon an online company if they experience service related problems; price or product related problems are generally regarded as secondary problems.
As the research indicates, your customer experience simply cannot be ignored. If you neglect the quality of your experience, your customers – more discerning than ever before – will not think twice about finding a better experience elsewhere. Uncaring, uninformed, and unhelpful customer support can - and will - erode customer trust.
4 Ways to Destroy Customer Trust
For online customers, nothing is more important than trusting a company to live up to its promises, providing the product or service it has specified, and not letting them down with inferior customer support. The following four factors will, no doubt, hurt your reputation:
1/ You are not personalizing the customer experience
If you know who your customers are and what they want, you are better positioned to create an experience that delivers on your brand’s promises. And every interaction that accomplishes this will help you build trust.
Personalization is among the most powerful ways to win consumer confidence. Accenture reports that 60% of consumers trust businesses which gather and use data to create personalized offers, reminders, and delivery options. To accomplish this, online brands must understand who their individual customers are via the collection and responsible use of data, data which should only be used to clarify the individual needs and preferences of each customer.
2/ You are not transparent
There should be no doubt that your customers are talking about you. One recent report finds that nearly half of all online consumers share their opinions about your business – especially their negatives one – on social media, with 58% admitting they are more likely to share those opinions today than they were five years ago. Given these statistics, it’s a good idea to operate your business with the understanding that, eventually, everything will go public.
Because social media is so immediate, you need to participate in conversations as they are happening. Even better, provide your customers with opportunities to speak to you directly – via live chat, feedback forms, or smart surveys – before they publicly air any grievances.
3/ You are not building credibility
Word of mouth drives 20% - 50% of all online purchasing decisions. One way to increase positive word of mouth about your brand is by allowing open customer reviews on your website. Providing prospective customers with direct and easy access to feedback you have received will grant you instant credibility and enable you to develop trust. Customer-generated content is now seen as 70% more credible than that which is professionally written.
Customer-generated content is not only perceived as more authentic but, as an added bonus, it helps increase the engagement level – and, therefore, the loyalty - of existing customers who have been invited to share their opinions.
4/ You are not letting customers complain
Although it might be tempting to turn away from customer complaints, they serve two important functions: (1) complaints are data points showing where your customer experience is failing, and (2) offering the ability to complain (and to feel heard) actually builds customer trust.
The vast majority of your unhappy customers – 96% - won’t tell you what is bothering them but, will instead, directly share their opinions with friends, colleagues, or social media connections. But imagine what you could learn if they did tell you about their pain points, what actions you could take to ensure a better experience, actions which would, no doubt, turn your brand detractors into brand advocates. Proactively listening and taking steps to acknowledge your customers’ concerns would provide you with opportunities to show your customers that you value their experience.
Avoiding Costly Mistakes
Building trust with your customers will not only secure your reputation but could make the difference between your business’s success and failure. Delivering on the promise a brand makes has always been essential, but in today's ecommerce culture, a discrepancy between promise and delivery can be instantly fatal to a brand who risks losing, on average, 65% of the revenue they would have received had they taken steps to ensure customer trust.
Establishing trust with online customers is both critical and difficult. But taking steps to avoid mistakes with each customer interaction will demonstrate that your business is reputable and, therefore, worthy of your customers’ time and money.