The Point

Feb

You Don’t Need to be a Slime Ball to Lose Your Customer’s Trust

Barry Feldman: February 19, 2013 | Social media/social media marketing | Comments
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Lose customers trust

Know. Like. Trust.

You know the formula by now. You like and trust it too because when you accomplish the holy trifecta you’re well on your way to getting a customer and maybe even winning their loyalty for as long as the spell holds fast.

But in this cellophane age, our fingers do more than the walking. They do the talking, fact-checking and investigative work.

As such, you need not be a slime ball to discolor your character. Your trust deficit may not even trace to the words you say or write. You could suffer the slings of skepticism because of the stuff you don’t.

So I thought it wise to warn you of the many ways you might lose your customer’s trust.

Your brand does all the talking

The complete absence of interactivity is the online equivalent of the used car salesman.

Not only are you fixated on moving product this very instant, you’re uninterested in what the customer has to say.

Your website’s devoid of any form of dialogue. There’s no blog, forum, reviews, or voice of anyone, but the copywriter’s. You have all the answers, but for some reason, no was given a chance to ask a question.

You’re anti-social

I know, I know. You don’t have time for social media.

Not so? My bad.

You actually checked it out. You even set up an account here and there, but after a month of sharing your little pitches and opinions nary a cash register rang.

You proved it. Facebook’s not worth liking and Twitter’s for the birds.

Have it your way. But don’t fool yourself. Those billions of customers you’ve chosen not to connect with are going to find relationships elsewhere.

Robots rule what’s written

There’s more than one definition of dense. If your SEO advisor has you believing your use of keywords should be dense, he’s the other definition of the word.

Consciously or subconsciously, the heavy-handed use of keywords is a mistrust trigger.

Do not, repeat, do not compose copy to flirt with search engine robots. Even if you were to get the ranking you covet, please understand, robots have no wallets.

You’re no help

I’ve chosen to spare you a content marketing lesson, at least of the standard variety. Instead, I’ll illustrate the concept in a sentence:

If you don’t offer customers a hand,
it’s the same as giving them the finger.

You merely need to open your laptop and open your eyes. You’ll find the most fervent servants have the most fervent friends.

Never mind the whole “thought leadership” baloney. A generous giver of help and advice builds the trust that builds great brands while the holdouts are lucky to snag an eager shopper now and then.

“If you have to ask, you can’t afford it.”

Heard that one from the annals of restaurant lore? As far as online marketing is concerned, it’s bogus.

Your website visitors are going to ask what your products cost and you can’t afford to blow them off. Trust building doesn’t work that way.

Okay, parts of the hemming and hawing you’re doing right now may be valid. Your product comes in all kinds of configurations. A number of complicated variables affect the actual price. You sell a service and the fees are negotiable.

People get that. But if you won’t give them an idea, some ballpark, a price range, or the minimum you may charge, guess what? They’ll charge on out of your sucker net and find a more comfortable sales funnel to dive into.

No one’s home

There’s one very good reason to withhold contact information on your website. Yep. You don’t want to be contacted. And you won’t.

Nothing says “We’re too busy for you” like a site with no email address, phone number, or address.

A contact form doesn’t cut it. And spare your customers the “chat now” option that really doesn’t have a customer service rep (represented by a stock photo) standing by to take your question.

If you want to be liked and trusted, trust that someone who wants to contact you—now—is a prospect.

You’re never wrong

Companies are people and people make mistakes. And make no mistake; you will get called out on it. React by getting defensive or finger pointing and you’re bound to see your trust quotient wane.

The place is a mess

When you walk into a store and find the place messy or unorganized, you’re going to leave and not come back.

The same goes for your website. If the space is cluttered and noisy or if visitors can’t easily find what they’re looking for, you’ll make a bad first impression and never even have a shot at developing trust.

Bad words

Visitors come to your website to read. The copy they find there will turn them on, turn them off—or worse yet—make no impression at all.

Turnoffs include spelling mistakes, poor grammar, blatant bastardizations of the language, in-your-face sales pitches, clichés, and jargon-laden nonsense that people struggle to decipher.

And finally, there’s your plain old
BRIGHT GREEN SLIME…

The trust killers we’ve covered thus far are generally innocent ones. That is, the guilty party probably didn’t mean any harm. However, the web is a tricky place to police, so you can be a shady character and get away with all kinds of crap…

Bait and switch sales tactics… convoluted fine print… overly aggressive cookies… fabricated testimonials… privacy policy violations… unsolicited emails (a.k.a SPAM) and difficult (or no) unsubscribe protocols.

These are all slime. Some are even crimes.

Be good

You can’t beg, buy or borrow trust. If you want it, you have to build it. It takes effort.

The netizens whose trust you seek have fine-tuned BS filters and fingers that are never far from the back button. And they’re not afraid to use them.

Be good. Be ethical and honest. Be present. Be like the people you trust most, the ones who are happy to help you, not because it’s lucrative, but because it’s the right thing to do.

Are you with me?

Barry Feldman
Barry Feldman, founder of Feldman Creative, is a prolific writer with 25 years of experience bringing his clients' online presence to the next level through copywriting and content marketing creation and consulting. He writes and educates clients on online marketing on The Point and on many other sites across the web. Connect with Barry on Google+.
Barry Feldman

@feldmancreative

Focused on effective online marketing #content marketing consultant #copywriter #creative director #social media advisor
Calendar this, a webinar I'm doing, The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Social Media Marketing - http://t.co/yUnDeWapiV via @BrightTALK - 7 hours ago
Barry Feldman
Barry Feldman
  • Joyce Cerroni

    Wonderful, comprehensive but concise post. Love it. Especially the ones on pricing and ‘bad words’, the ones most often overlooked. Thanks.

  • John Reynolds

    Very useful reminder (or lesson) on how to build a long term sustainable service business – excellent.

  • http://www.chamberspivot.com/category/find-new-business-blog/ Greg Chambers

    Good stuff. It’s a process!

  • http://www.feldmancreative.com/ Barry Feldman

    Greg, John, Joyce,
    Thanks for reading, sharing, and commenting. Love the feedback.