Going Beyond Trust Seals - How To Humanize Your Online Store
The most important thing to consider when designing your ecommerce site is to convey a sense of trust and competence to your customers.
There are a number of ways to convey these ideas to your customers including:
- Well laid out site
- Trust Symbols
- High quality content
Today however, I want to focus on three specific tactics that often get overlooked when it comes to "humanizing" your online store and how easy it is to forget that little things to you may be insurmountable obstacles to your customers.
Three Easily Overlooked Methods For Increasing Sales By Humanizing Your Site:
- Add Live Chat To Your Site
- Make Sure Your Phone Number Is Easily Seen In The Global Header
- Use Web Video To Make Your Site More Personal
Let's take a quick look at each of these ideas and how they might work on your site:
1. Add Live Chat To Your Site It took us a couple years to finally getting around to do this, and frankly we've been very surprised with the results we've gotten in only a few short months. We chose to go with http://live2support.com and I've heard lots of good things about http://liveperson.com and I'm sure there are tons of good solutions for live chat in the market.
The main thing I had to realize that pushed me over the hump on Live Chat, was that not everyone wants to use your phone number for assistance, especially international customers. We saw an immediate boost in sales by communicating with our customers the way they want to be communicated with.
2. Make Sure Your Phone Number Is Easily Seen In The Global Header
This one I'm definitely close to preachy about, and in some cases the biggest of players don't follow this rule (such as Amazon). However and this is a big however, virtually everyone on the planet knows and has an opinion about their trust of Amazon, and for almost anyone reading this blog, you're the exact opposite of Amazon. Virtually no one knows who are you or whether they trust you or not.
I recently helped a friend launch her store and she wanted to take out the phone number in her global header because she was getting too many calls. The real problem wasn't the number of calls but the number she had them calling, which was the number she uses for her large resellers. The secret it to find a way to make it work for your business while keeping your customers in mind. In this day and age it's cheap and easy to have a specialized phone number for just about any segment of your customer base (if that's the route you want to go, there are other considerations about this). Don't make it difficult for your customers to interact with you, because they generally won't complain, they'll just leave and you won't know what you've lost!
3. Use Web Video To Make Your Site More Personal We started using more and more web video a couple years ago, initially to help train people on how to use our product. I've been consistently surprised to find out how many people watch our videos and take the time to email us feedback about them. The consensus of our customer base is to "keep the videos coming". It seems to provide a human face on both the training process as well as corporate communications and it's A LOT easier to do than you think.
There's two very easy ways to create high quality videos for your online store. First is a high quality Web Cam. I use a Mac, so my computer has the built in iSight, which works great, regardless of what you use though, Mac or PC, there's lots of inexpensive high quality web cams on the market today. Just setup your web cam, pick a topic, start recording and go for it. Try to keep these type short and sweet, yet packed full of useful information.
Second way to easily create compelling video is to host a webinar and record the content. This is very easy to do when you have a long and in-depth subject to cover. I tend to build my presentation, host the webinar and do a live Q&A at the end. We then take that screen recording and upload the long form video to www.vimeo.com which can handle long form content that YouTube isn't designed for.
At some level I sound like a broken record about these things but it's critically important to stay on top of these issues and to continuously improve your site as it's very easy to get so immersed in your own "forest" that all you can see are your trees.
If you focus some of your effort each month in reducing the barriers to interacting with your clients, your business will reward you greatly!
Donna Talarico says:
This is a great post! I think all too often people rely on these seals and sometimes over do it by cluttering the header. These human touches are wonderful and in my opinion, more trustworthy. Anyone can pay for a seal, but no everyone can be there to answer the phone. Great post.
Great blog Rick and Donna, I completely agree. The human touch is crucial to the trust factor of an online business. Being there to answer the phone is part of a company's overall image. More importantly, what we can learn from how the customer perceives our website can do wonders for optimizing it.
Miguel Guedes de Sousa says:
This is one of my favorite blogs here in Practical eCommerce. Thanks for another great post! Hope to read more from you.