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How to earn customer trust when you’re a new business

By Alexandra Gavril - October 5, 2018

Back in the day, all you had to do as a business was to appear on TV and people would trust you in an instant.

Today, it’s much harder. It’s especially hard when you’re just starting out and you don’t have any customers that can recommend or vouch for how awesome your business is.

If you think about it, it’s nothing unusual. Would you buy from a new business you know nothing about? Nothing about the quality of the products or services they sell or their commitment to customer satisfaction? A new business that no one is talking about, with zero reviews or social proof?

Probably not.

Fortunately, there are some effective ways that new businesses can use to overcome that initial gap in trust and instil confidence in potential customers. Here are six of them that you can implement right away on your own business website.

Show off your human side

People tend to distrust new businesses, which they can view as just another money-hungry company. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that we’re more open to trusting people. So if you want to overcome the initial consumer distrust you need to show the human side of your brand.

If you’re a small business owner, give people a chance to get to know you. Introduce yourself and tell them why you do what you do and why it’s important to you.

Not only are you giving people the chance to put a face to the brand but it also adds credibility to your business.

The About page is the best place on your website to humanise your brand and build an emotional connection with your potential customers. Use this page to tell them your brand’s story and why you started your business.

Getting to know you and what you stand for is how they can start to trust you and, thus, feel more comfortable buying from you.

Here’s a good example from gummisig, a freelance web designer:

And here’s another fun one from the producers of Comedy Hack Day:

Read more tips and examples on how to create an About page that lets people know how nice and trustworthy you are.

Prove your expertise with valuable content

If you think you have nothing to work with to build people’s trust, think again.

Great content is a powerful tool for raising awareness on your business and showing off your expertise. Use it as much as you can to let people know that you have the knowledge and willingness to help them solve their problems.

No matter the type of content you create, whether it’s blog posts, guides, videos, make sure it’s high-quality, helpful and relevant. If your prospects can use your advice to better their lives or solve some of their problems, they’ll immediately trust to buy your products and services.

Apart from helping prospects to get more familiar with your brand and demonstrating your expertise, great content can also help engage people in conversation. Even a reaction or a short comment can give you a valuable opportunity to connect with your audience and build a relationship with them.

For example, if you need advice on how to reach your fitness goals and live a better, happier, healthier life, you’ll find lots of great resources on FitBit’s blog:

Want to learn more about content marketing and how to create fantastic content that your audience will enjoy? Take our free business course on blog and content marketing.

Reassure visitors they’re safe on your website

You won’t stand a chance at getting prospects to hand over their credit card details to you if your site looks untrustworthy.

Cyber security is a huge issue with hackers exposing even major brands like Under Armour.

So of course we’re all wary about giving anyone our information, especially credit card details.

A good solution to protect your visitors’ information and reassure them that they’re safe on your website is to get a SSL certificate. Check out the SSL certificates from 123 Reg to learn more about how they work and why they’re essential to securing your site and building consumer trust.

Showcase a great return policy

Imagine you find a fantastic product on an online shop you know nothing about. You’re not sure if you should hit that “Buy now” button but then you see the return policy. It’s an excellent return policy that reassures you that if you don’t like the product for whatever reason, you can send it back for a full refund.

What does this tell you? It tells you that as a customer you have nothing to lose by making the purchase and that this company is confident in the quality of their products.

Good return policies are a must, especially for new businesses since the potential risk people assume when they buy online is immediately lower.

So if you trust in the quality of your products, create a great return policy so that your prospects will too.

Make your return policy visible throughout the website, on your homepage, on product pages, and wherever else relevant.

Here’s an example from arcteryx.com:

And here’s their return policy:

Even if a customer isn’t happy with their order and decides to return a specific product, they’ll be more willing to recommend you or to purchase again in the future thanks to that great return policy. That’s because it shows that you care more about customer satisfaction than you do about making money.

Be available to answer their questions and concerns

If you were on the fence about buying a product, you’d probably reach out to the business to have your questions answered. You’d look for a contact form, a live chat window, an email address or a social media account like Facebook or Twitter.

It’s not just you. Your prospects do that too. So make sure you’re available to provide the support and advice they need, and as quickly as possible.

Speed of response is critical, especially on live chat and social media.

In fact, a report by the Northridge Group revealed that 42% of consumers expect a response to their customer service inquiry within the hour. Of this group, 17% expect a response in minutes. These can be difficult service levels to meet, though some companies are beginning to.

Of course, as a small business owner you may not have the time or the resources to respond this quickly. So as a best practice, do your best to respond with immediacy, even if you aren’t able to solve an issue straight away.

For example, you could use a boilerplate message catered to each social channel that lets users know that you’ve seen their message and that you’ll get back to them as soon as possible. Or you could use a great tool like the Facebook Messenger chatbot.

This guide explains how to create a Facebook Messenger chatbot for your small business and how to use it to enhance your customer’s experience when dealing with your business

Emphasise transparency

Consider your kitchen pantry. The packaged foods inside most likely display a list of nutritional values and ingredients.

Now think about what the equivalent might be for your product or service. Maybe it’s a “What’s in this kit?” description where you detail with text, pictures or even video what the customer will receive when they make a purchase.

The more your prospects know about what they’re going to get after they hit that “buy now” button, the more likely they are to finalise the purchase.

Here’s a fantastic example from Tortuga, a brand that sells backpacks:

At the top you have the basic information, images and a description. As you scroll down you get to learn more about the product:

Then there’s also this great section called “what fits inside” that helps people to visualise the product and how much stuff they can fit into the backpack:

For more tips and advice, read our post on how to write compelling product descriptions that sell.

Wrapping up

Customer trust is difficult to earn, especially as a new business. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. If you get started with these tips today, you’ll soon be able to turn sceptics into customers and maybe even lifelong fans of your business.