How to create online trust

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/7/2006 | Business and Finance

There are many people who do not repose trust in online business because they do not deal with live people who can allay their fears or win their trust. They also dont get to see the products; all they see are images. So, they are not sure if the product that they will get will be the same as the image.

Even more important, they are not certain if the personal information- -- especially the credit card information  that they provide will not be misused. The onus therefore is on the online merchant to convince his customers that they can trust him.

However, this is easier said than done. Trust is a value and not a commodity. The online merchant will have to be honest and transparent if he has to win the trust of his customers.

The merchant must avoid making big promises or claims that cannot be fulfilled. All information put on the site must be factual and accurate. It should also be updated regularly so that it stays current.

The merchant must host the privacy policy prominently. The customer must know, and understand, the different terms and conditions. Most important, the customer must know how his credit card details will be guarded.

Interaction and communication is the lifeline of any business. On the net, it is even more so. The merchant must respond promptly to all communications received from the customer. If possible, the merchant should have a 24-hour live help available on the site.

The merchant must host the companys address, telephone numbers, fax number, e-mail address prominently on the site. The merchant must also put up images of himself and other partners on the site. He should also be willing to allow interaction among customers, as long as it has the concurrence of all. He should never give away a customers information without getting his approval.

The merchant must have a money back guarantee or replacement policy. This is essential to build faith in the companys integrity. The merchant must also ensure that the replacement policy is honored. Such policies build the customers confidence in the companys standing; they also build the companys reputation for sincerity and honesty.

Remember that trust generates trust. The most important factor is to act responsibly, be prompt in answering customer queries, and remove customer fears of being cheated. The rewards will come on their own. All customers, once satisfied with your service, will return again and again. They will also bring in new customers.