Building Trust

  The foundation to online sales is laid down by building trust for your company, your product and your value with potential customers. Providing top notch quality service to your online customers is as important as if you were providing services to customers sitting at your tables. When a customer believes in the authenticity of your offering, they are much more likely to become a customer for life and equally importantly recommend you to friends and family.     In this article, I will highlight some of the strategic ways we have found to be most effective to build and showcase your online trustworthiness.  

Creating Perception of Excellence

  1. Third-party verification - Include third-party trust seals such as Verisign, BBBOnline or Hackersafe to increase credibility.
  2. Showcase your excellence - Display the awards won by your restaurant to build your brand. Recognition from independent authorities is one of the strongest evidences of credibility. In particular, awards for the quality of products or services are helpful in building trust. If your restaurant is rated A - it is worth your while to let your customers know that. You can also add how many years in a row you’ve been in that high standing. 
  A Rule Of Thumb - Awards for customer-oriented issues may be mentioned on the homepage, whereas awards for the web team's efforts should be relegated to an "About This Site" area. In either case, don't let awards overstay their welcome. Featuring a stale award from last year undermines credibility since it communicates that you haven't done anything good lately (except if it's included in a history section).  

Receive and Reflect Trust

  1. Privacy - Include clear messages that remind visitors of how much you value their privacy and that this is not something you take lightly. Add a link to your privacy policy in multiple locations.
  2. Unsubscribe - Include unsubscribe options from changing frequency to fully unsubscribe with every email that is sent out (also a good spot to include the privacy link). Make it easy to unsubscribe, even if you want to include a reminder of what they will be missing out once they are removed from the distribution.
  3. Add product comfort triggers - These are triggers that make the customer want to click for more information. These can generate trust in the vital moments leading up to purchase or conversion. Some examples are product ratings, “top seller” or “most popular” indicators. Another form can be, a simple video clip about the product. These add to the overall credibility of the product.
  4. Value triggers matter - Value triggers like Service or Product guarantees make the users ask themselves the important question, why not? I have nothing to lose. A value trigger is anything that helps inform the client of benefits or value of purchasing online. Examples of value triggers include free delivery or no shipping costs or flexible refund/return policies. These help the customer feel comfort with the brand and trust in the experience.  

Information is King

  • Transparency -  While this is intangible, it is a quality that should be present throughout the online experience. Especially when pricing and fees are concerned. For example, adding a secure-payment icon at the checkout page or clarifying the steps in the checkout process (see Part 1 of this series) helped to build trust.
  • FAQ Pages  - FAQs optimize the credibility of information-oriented websites, and it is currently under-utilized in the restaurant industry. You should know that FAQ pages are often visited by the users and it reduces bounce rates.Having FAQs is beneficial for building trust and helps minimize customer inquiries or complaints. It also adds a professional element to your website as you look organized and disciplined. And, everyone admires that. FAQs for restaurants don’t need to be developed separately, but it can be simply added to your Contact Us page, and its links can go in your website footer to let people know it’s available.
  • Ease the legalease - Customers really do read your terms of service and privacy policy. How can you simplify the legalese and reassure them while protecting yourself?  Easy to understand terms makes the user feel safe and not worried about how they are going to get taken advantage of if something goes wrong.

Share Online Reviews & Testimonials

People trust other people. So be sure to share reviews, ratings and testimonials whether good or bad. On your site or through email, encourage people to review your business on Yelp, Google, Facebook or whichever platforms you prefer. Make sure you are monitoring reviews so that you can respond to customers who have had a bad experience at your restaurant.  
  1. Power of responding - Not everyone can always get 5 out of 5 stars - we all know that. There is power in sharing reviews, but take the time to clarify or respond to the more negative reviews. Being honest in these cases lets your visitors get a true sense of your values are and your level of care and concern. This also gives you an opportunity to provide context for readers on what went wrong and the reason for the lower review. I recommend showing the number of reviewers and stars as statistics on your own site.
  2. Making amends - In addition to just responding, it may be worth your while to reach out to the unhappy customers directly. An email apology, and a peace offering (free drink or partial refund for poor service) can go a long to way to rebuild trust and make sure that client returns. Eaters understand if there is a mistake or one-time poor service, and if they sense the concern they are willing to give your eatery a second chance.
  3. Testimonials - Check with a few long-time customers if you can Include a video testimonial from them or a customer’s photo. These greatly increase credibility compared to plain vanilla text testimonials (which can be faked!).  Request testimonials with details if possible. Rather than saying “It’s the best ever!” ask the customer to be specific, as in “conversion rates went up 10% overnight!” Don’t put all your testimonials on one page. Put them alongside the product to help increase credibility and trust.
  Include consumer reviews. There’s no doubt that consumer reviews are extremely influential in helping people make purchase decisions. In fact, according to a study by Zendesk, 88 percent of respondents said their buying decisions were influenced by positive and negative reviews.   Using these valuable tips and strategies you should experience a higher engagement and trust from your new and existing clients.