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Operating your business online means that you can reach more customers, but you do lose a lot of the engagement that comes from face-to-face contact. As a result, it may be difficult to generate customer trust as a new online business. However, customers will always value authenticity and responsiveness to their concerns, so you should maintain these values online as much as possible. For some guidance, this article will provide five tips for building customer trust as a New Zealand online business.

Be Transparent About Your Personal Information Use

Your online business is almost certain to collect personal information from its customers, which has various privacy implications. In New Zealand, personal information is any data you can use to identify an individual customer, such as:

  • names;
  • IP addresses;
  • shipping addresses;
  • photos;
  • phone numbers; or
  • cookies.

For one thing, the New Zealand Privacy Act requires that you tell your customers how you use their personal information, which you may do in a privacy policy or a similar document. However, your customers will likely be highly mindful of how you use their personal information, especially in an online context. 

Therefore, you should be as transparent as possible with your customers about how you use their personal information. Take every chance you can to direct them to your comprehensive privacy policy and keep them up to date with any relevant information processing changes. Taking these steps will:

  • promote customer trust; and 
  • show that you care about your customers’ control over their information.

Show Customers You Value Their Privacy

Another way to generate customer trust online is to show them what measures you take to protect their privacy in the first place. Increasingly, many customers will only shop online with businesses that they can confirm are secure and protect their data according to the law. 

Therefore, you need to implement appropriate cybersecurity measures to meet customer expectations. Following that, you need to demonstrate to customers that your measures will protect their private data. Some security measures will include:

  • encrypting connections and stored customer data;
  • using secure payment options;
  • training and educating employees on privacy protection matters;
  • responding to data breaches quickly and efficiently; and
  • informing customers of data breaches that will affect them but limiting the damage done at the same time.

Provide Accurate and Useful Information About Your Goods and Services

Operating as an online business offers many benefits for both you and your customers, including the potential for increased efficiency and greater connection. However, depending on your operation model, customers may lose the ability to confirm for themselves the nature of your goods and services. Instead, they rely on the information you provide on your website and the testimonials of other customers.

As a result, the information you provide must be:

  • accurate;
  • up to date; and
  • useful.

Be sure to include all of the information necessary for a customer to make an informed decision about whether to engage with your business. The more information a customer has, the more secure they will feel about purchasing your goods or services online. This fact can lead to increased customer trust. In addition, they will value authenticity and honesty, so be sure to reflect those values in how you present your business.

However, if you mislead your customers at all, this will do catastrophic damage to your reputation, and you may incur legal penalties under the Fair Trading Act.

Encourage Reviews and Accept Negative Feedback

Following that, a valuable source of information for your customers are reviews about your business. They will rely on the words of others to make their decisions, so you must take advantage of this resource. Encourage customers to leave feedback or reviews about your business and accept negative ones as they come. Most customers will not expect a business to have entirely positive feedback and will look at how you handle negative feedback to gauge your business’ attitude. Try to remain as courteous as possible and grow from your mistakes, but maintain a firm attitude where needed.

Create a Compelling Social Media Presence

Finally, many of your customers will come to your online business through social media. Create a compelling social media image of your business, but try to maintain authenticity in this brand. Customers will be more likely to engage if you come across as honest and genuine. 

A key aspect of this is your advertising and managing expectations around that. Be sure not to mislead customers with your advertising, and comply with the Advertising Standards Authority’s Advertising Codes. These are self-enforcing standards for transparent advertising, and customers will be more likely to trust you when you advertise responsibly according to these guidelines.

Key Takeaways

Building trust with your customers online can be difficult, but if you put in the effort to provide accessible and transparent services, you can still get results. 

If you would like more information or help with legally building customer trust online, contact LegalVision’s eCommerce lawyers on 0800 005 570 or fill out the form on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you build trust with online customers?

Being reachable and accessible for your customers is a good way to build customer trust. In addition, if you develop a reputation for authenticity and genuineness, this can help with building trust as well.

What is personal information?

Personal information is any information about an identifiable living person. If you can use the information to identify this person, it qualifies as personal information, like names or email addresses.

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