Online TransactionAccording a recent report*, “A majority of respondents believe that journalists (59 percent), government leaders (57 percent), and business leaders (56 percent), are purposely trying to mislead people by saying things they know are false.”

As a business person, why should that matter to you? An environment of distrust may (eventually) mean people are less likely to do business with you.

By establishing the concepts of “know, like, and trust” with your audience, you may find sales and interest in your business will increase.

Here are a few ideas on how to build trust for a business that’s reputation is in the neutral position. (May not apply if you are trying to address a public relations issue.)

  1. Practice transparency. Give customers a peek behind your curtain. They will enjoy learning about you  and be more trusting.  Be honest and upfront If you have a vested interest in something. This also includes admitting errors or mistakes when needed.
  2. Open the conversation up. Use social media to look for ways to ask questions and get people involved. Think about crowdsourcing some business decisions.
  3. Bring your customer service online. In 2021, people expect to be able to do business with you online. Make sure your phone number is easily found if they want to follow up. Incorporate other avenues like chat, email, or text. If someone has an issue or question, they need to be able to reach you through their preferred method of communication.
  4. Set expectations and exceed them. Be clear about when they can expect delivery of shipped items. Today’s technology allows users to pinpoint where their order is. Also use this approach when describing your responses as well. Give people a time when you will get back to them. It is better to get back with them at that time and tell them there will be a delay, than it is to tell them “soon,”  while they then wait days to hear from you. The more communication you have, the less they will feel forgotten about. You want them to feel like their query is on the top of your pile. Consistent communication helps.
  5. Be honest with information/data use. Of the people who left Facebook, 46 percent  admitted they did so because they didn’t trust the companies’ use of their data, or they had privacy concerns. Be sure you have the proper opt-in procedures. Be transparent about how you will use the information collected. People pay more attention to privacy than ever. Make sure they can trust you.

Trust is harder to build than destroy. Consider your own interactions with businesses and what inspires you to have confidence in them. Do your best to be as open as possible with people who want to do business with you.

*2021 Edelman Trust Barometer,