Shep Hyken\'s Customer Service Blog

7 Ways to Build Online Customer Trust

Customer Service SpeakerIncrease Customer Confidence

It’s easy to build trust when you have the opportunity to connect with customers in person. You can look into their eyes, read their expressions, and interact at a more personal level. Even on the phone you can listen to a customer’s tone of voice and react accordingly. But, building trust online is a different story; not necessarily more difficult. Just different.

Certain companies have excelled at building online trust, such as Zappos, Apple, and Sephora. Their reputations are stellar. They are recognized in many surveys and studies as top ranked online retailers.  Interesting to note that Apple and Sephora are also topped ranked traditional retailers, known for delivering an amazing customer service experience.  That trust has crossed over into the online world. So, how do these companies build online trust?  Here are seven common sense ways to do so. Unfortunately, they aren’t always so common.

  1. Remember that people do business with people. Even in the online world where customers purchase through your website, remember that the website was designed by people to be used by people. Make the site easy to navigate and simple to understand.
  2. Be accessible through multiple channels. In other words, you may have a great call center, but you should also have support available through the other channels a customer may want to use, such as email, texting, Facebook, or Twitter.
  3. Make contact information available on every page of a website. Make it easy for a customer to call, email, or connect with you instantly.
  4. Keep telephone hold times to a minimum. It can be frustrating for a customer to have to wait for extended periods of time. It sends a message that the company doesn’t care enough to staff properly. As an alternative, consider technology that will let the customer know how long the wait time is with the option of an automatic call-back.
  5. When a customer contacts you via social channels, respond quickly – which means minutes, not hours or days. Tweet If I wanted my question answered two hours from now, I would have waited two hours to ask the question.
  6. Share social proof. Use testimonials from happy customers to help prove trust and increase a customer’s confidence to do business with you.
  7. Ask your customers to post online reviews. This shows that you have confidence that you will take care of your customers by delivering a great customer service experience and taking care of any problems that may arise – in such a way that will earn you a glowing online review.

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, professional speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact (314)692-2200 or For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs go to Follow on Twitter: @Hyken

(Copyright ©MMXIV, Shep Hyken)

  1. Wise words. You mention the importance of adding business contacts in every page to make it easy for customers to reach companies easily. One thing I’ve been acknowledging, especially through many startup online stores (those who depend on each single customer the most), is that there’s a trend to make it more difficult for customers to contact them. We see hidden forms, confuse helpdesk portals… If customer service is not taken to the centre where will companies be left? Having a good product and a good team is not by any means guarantee of success.

    • Agree – A good product is a given. A good team is critical and they must have the tools and be empowered to take care of the customer. They must be easily accessible (via email, chat, phone, etc.).

  2. Nice Post! What helped me a lot to build trust was Online Reviews. I used the Trustbadge reviews widget on my online shop to collect and show customer reviews. It’s fairly easy to use. They have many integrations in different shop systems. And it comes with 7 languages and is mobile-optimized. There’s a freemium version available at at so you can try yourself if it helps 🙂

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