It can be hard to establish credibility and trust with your customers when you’re working from behind a webpage. But there are a lot of simple things you can do with the tools available online that go a long way toward making you stand out as a serious business worthy of the customer’s trust.

Make sure your customer knows you run a tight ship by employing the right cues online. Here are some of the things you can do to help you make the right impression and build that trust.

Start with a professional looking website

You wouldn’t walk into an interview wearing a t-shirt and jeans. Dress up your website with a professional look and feel that instils confidence in the customer and shows them you’re an expert. You want an uncluttered and visually appealing layout that makes clear your business’s purpose within a few seconds of landing on the homepage. Find more advice on how to present your business online here.

Keep your message consistent and honest

The days when you could tout your product using gimmicky catch phrases and used-car-salesman tactics are long past dead. In the information age, customers can see right through insincere marketing instantly.

Don’t try to mask information or present an overblown image of your product just to get more sales. Instead, focus on delivering a straightforward and honest message that gets to the heart of what you have to offer. Customers will appreciate this honesty and you’ll be rewarded with business from those who are truly seeking what you have to sell.

Care about security and privacy

Another great way to build credibility is to show the customer you’re keeping their security and privacy in mind. Use SSL encryption and post trust certificates and logos so customers know they can trust your site when they make purchases and enter personal information. HTTPS websites even receive better search ranking results and add to your visibility.

Whether you’re collecting credit card numbers or just email addresses for mailing lists, let the customer know you can be trusted to protect their data by posting a privacy policy page on your website.

Make yourself available

One ridiculously simple but sure way to differentiate yourself from the scammers is to post your contact information on your website. Make sure it’s visible on multiple pages and include a phone number, email, and physical address.

If your business provides customer service, give customers a variety of options for reaching it whether it be by phone or through live chat. Or give them the option to peruse online forums and FAQs so they can self-service their own questions.

Respond to negative customer reviews

Negative reviews really can be an opportunity. Chances are if one customer is complaining, others are feeling the same way but didn’t say anything. So that one negative review could give you invaluable insight into how to improve your business and product.

Responding to negative reviews might be tricky but even this can turn into an advantage for your business. Other potential customers will see what you have to say in response to an unhappy customer. Don’t let your emotions get in the way. If you can show you can respond professionally and with real care for the unsatisfied customer’s concerns, that potential customer will feel even more confident about buying from you. Check out this resource for more tips on keeping your cool with negative comments.

Overall, it’s important to employ the right tactics to build customer trust starting from the earliest stages of your business. Even if you can't shake the customer's hand or look them in the eye, there are still plenty of simple steps you can take online to ensure you build yourself the right reputation.

About the author

Kelly Paik is a freelance writer covering science and technology. She hails from San Francisco where she spent some time in the trenches of Silicon Valley, from where she brings that inside perspective as she serves the latest on innovations and updates in the tech industry.