Peer Perspective: Establishing Trust with Your Customers Online
At Siteimprove, we work with numerous talented web professionals across a variety of industries. In this series, we hope to inspire digital success through best practices from our customers, who are dominating the digital world with new, unique approaches to implementing web governance strategies at their organizations. In these blog posts, you can learn from your peers and apply new techniques to your own website.
In this installment, we’re looking at financial institutions. Financial institutions handle some of the most sensitive and complicated subjects – other people’s money. Their goal is to not only gain customers, but keep them by establishing and maintain their reputation as a trustworthy institution. And with an estimated 81% of people using online banking, the most likely place for that to happen is…their website.
So how do financial institutions develop and promote customer trust online? What’s the secret sauce to getting people to trust you for a lifetime? We recently sat down with one financial institution team to find out:
Provide error-free content
“We have about 300 pages on our customer-facing site. That’s a lot of content! With that many pages and the number of associates who edit the site, there’s no way I can proof everything,” explained Erin Brownlow, Assistant Vice President & Sales Manager at Busey Bank.
But error-free content doesn’t just mean misspellings – it also means ensuring that outbound links are up to date. When was the last time you checked to see if an article you linked to in a blog post a month ago was still online? As Brownlow found, it may not be your link, but if your website visitor clicks on it and its broken, it’s still part of their user experience on your site.
“We received the Forbes ‘Most Trustworthy Company’ designation in 2014 and 2015, and they advised us the link could change, and they weren’t under any obligation to tell us,” she said. “We were supposed to update it when it did.” So while you’re tracking the quality of your own content per style guide and editorial requirements, consider a web governance solution that would also keep those outbound links in check.
Use analytics to make sure your website gives customers what they actually need
Establishing and nurturing customer trust on your website is directly linked to providing a good customer experience. Not only should your website provide visitors with error-free content, it should also provide them the content they want and need the most.
In a 2011 Hubspot survey, 76% of respondents said the most important factor in the design of a website is that “the website makes it easy for me to find what I want.” So how do you find what your web visitors want? Analytics.
Which of your website pages are receiving the most clicks? Are bounce rates skyrocketing on pages leading to important forms and applications? Are you supporting their progress through your site, guiding them to the content they need? Even more importantly, is your content supporting conversions – that is, visitors “converting” to leads or prospective customers by clicking the “contact us” or “submit” button?
“Having this information helps us make better decisions about campaigns,” said Brownlow, “guiding the user’s journey through our site and which page need changes.”
Protect your customer by meeting online compliance regulations
We haven’t discussed the most crucial aspect of trust in financial institutions. A survey by security firm Intercede found that 44% of consumers would never use online banking ever. Full stop. Their reasoning? Fear of identity theft.
Online security is arguably the number one way to establish (and lose) customer trust. If you’re a webmaster or content contributor, technical security may not fall under your job description, but you can still protect your web visitors.
For example, Brownlow found that during an audit of the bank’s business systems, auditors “noticed we had email addresses on the website that didn’t have speedbumps– i.e., nothing saying, ‘Hey, don’t send personal information through email, it’s not secure.’” Using their web governance tools, the Busey team was able to resolve their compliance issues before auditors even left the building, and protect their customers from sending sensitive data via email.
I’m not a financial institution – but I like this! How can I use it at my own company/organization?
Whether you’re a university wondering if potential students are able to easily find the information they need to apply on your homepage or a government agency with strict plain language content requirements, following in the steps of Busey Bank can nurture customer trust and protect your reputation.
Error-free content, analytics, and complying with online regulations aren’t just for the banks – they’re three features every company and organization can incorporate into a robust customer experience strategy.
While customers may not be trusting you with their entire life savings, a great customer experience still builds trust regardless of industry.
Want to learn more about how Busey Bank maintains customer trust online? Download the Busey Bank case study now.