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How Small Businesses Can Earn, and Keep, Customers Trust

Emily Lazration

Emily is the content marketing specialist at CoverWallet, a tech company that makes it easy for businesses to understand, buy, and manage commercial insurance online.
Editorial Note: Fundera exists to help you make better business decisions. That’s why we make sure our editorial integrity isn’t influenced by our own business. The opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations in this article are those of our editorial team alone.

Just like respect, trust is not given—it’s earned. In the world of business, people will not buy your products or your services if they don’t trust you. They need to find your business trustworthy before they decide to hand over their hard-earned cash. The tricky part about trust is that it cannot be forced on other people. You cannot just tell people to trust you so you can make a sale. You need to earn their trust naturally.

How can small businesses earn people’s trust? Here are several ways to keep in mind:

Prioritize Data Security

In this digital age when more and more people prefer doing their transactions online for ease and convenience, small businesses cannot afford to ignore the fact that the ability to adequately protect a customer’s sensitive information has a significant impact their success. Even if your business doesn’t accept digital payments, most likely customers have learned about your products or services through your website or social media accounts.

If they don’t feel that their information is safe while doing business with you, earning their trust will be difficult. Make sure to improve your security measures so customers can go through your online platforms without any issue. A trust badge or seal, which verifies you have a legit business, goes a long way in gaining customer trust.

A survey from Econsultancy and Toluna found that 48% of online shoppers say a trust seal is a determining factor in whether or not they trust a website. Norton, McAfee, and the Better Business Bureau tend to have the most name-recognition among shoppers, so display them proudly on your site to inform customers that their security is your priority.

Adhere to Standards on Data Protection

It is crucial to know the different rules and regulations associated with protecting customer’s data. In the U.S. there is no centralized, federal legislation that regulates data protection. So far the private sector has been left to lead the way in data protection, meaning they need to implement their own policies.

However, the European Union has the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), which controls the collection of personal data and cookies without the consent of the user. So if your company does any sort of online transactions with customers or companies in the EU you need to be aware of the rules, or you could face a fine.

Carry Cyber Liability Insurance

Together with the advancements in technology, we’ve also seen an increase in more complex cyber risks that can affect any industry and any company, big or small. That’s why it is essential to carry cyber liability insurance to protect you and your customers against claims associated with data breaches and other data security-related issues.

Just one claim, network failure or hacking incident and your business will have to deal with legal expenses and other damages that can leave a major hole in your pocket. According to one study, in 2017 cyberattacks cost U.S businesses an average of $225 per record compromised, and if you lose hundreds of records in a cyber breach you can see how quickly that would add up.  So if your company maintains a database of sensitive information, it’s essential to carry cyber insurance.

customers trust

Be Transparent

It pays to be honest and open about your business. When starting a business, transparency means promising only what you can deliver in terms of your products or services. It also means making customers feel comfortable while doing business with you by making sure that there are no glitches upon checkout or you don’t ask for details that are not necessary for making a sale.

When they have questions, answer them politely and truthfully. Be consistent in delivering an excellent customer experience so you can build strong business relationships and eventually, make your company a success.

Respond to Customers’ Reviews Properly

Technology has changed the way customers buy a product or service. When buying something, many will look for reviews first to see if it’s a good deal. So as a business owner, you need to make sure that your customers write good reviews about what you’re offering.

Online reviews have become great marketing tools that companies can take advantage of. When you get a lot of glowing reviews, customers will see your company as trustworthy, and they will be more likely to check out your products or services.

But the reality is, you cannot please everybody. Some people may be dissatisfied with their purchase that they will write negative reviews about the company. You cannot stop unhappy customers from writing reviews, but you can handle the situation properly to ensure that it will not significantly affect other people’s perception of your business.

This is where proper management of online reviews comes in. Make sure to express your gratitude and appreciation to those who took the time to write positive reviews about your company and make sure to highlight them on your website and social media. You can utilize different online management tools to help you sort all reviews and make it much easier for you to respond to them.

When it comes to negative reviews, acknowledge them as well, and use it as a learning opportunity. Address whatever concerns they may have and make sure to be respectful about it. It doesn’t matter if the review is positive or negative—responding in a professional manner shows that you value their feedback—and that helps in establishing strong relationships and earning customer trust.  

The thought of trying to win over your target market can seem like a daunting task, but remember the point is not to please everyone. Implementing the simple steps above can go a long way in earning the trust of your customers and ultimately can help your business grow.

Emily Lazration

Emily is the content marketing specialist at CoverWallet, a tech company that makes it easy for businesses to understand, buy, and manage commercial insurance online.