“It’s easier to rebuild a shattered city than shattered trust,” Karol Bunsch, a Cracow-based history writer, once said, and his words echo even in today’s digital business world. For example, a lack of trust raises transaction costs by 40%. It can also prevent close relationships for 80% of employees, and in turn, lack of trust in managers exposes the US economy to losses of more than $300 billion a year!
What affects trust in e-commerce? Or in social media (and once in forums)? Precisely the reviews (displayed, for example, on a company website showcasing products or services) of users, consumers and all those with whom our company has had the chance to cooperate – had email contact, asked for a reference or stars, or targeted its campaign. Their power is invaluable.
Issues of trust-based action are among those that are very relevant and very topical from the point of view of managing modern organizations. This is an area that reflects the attitude of a person to himself, to others and to the organization in which he is employed (such as your company). The issue of trust also relates to building the organization’s relationship with the environment – customers or shareholders and building its image, brand and prestige in a professional, expert manner.
How to lead on the national scene? The e-commerce industry in Poland continues to grow rapidly, and the services provided, customer service or website design are increasingly backed by full professionalism and high quality on a global level. Growing competition causes companies to keep a close eye on the factors influencing consumer buying behavior. One of the most important is the trust that a store, company or brand has with potential customers.
In turn, one of the factors determining trust in an entity is the review expressed about it. At the same time, as companies become more numerous, it is quite logical that customers are looking for information to verify credibility and decide whether they can place their trust in them and then buy something from them.
In case of online companies, the problem of trust is very important, because as Grażyna Adamczyk believes, we are dealing with reduced trust of recipients “in the case of companies that are unknown or less recognizable in the real market.” Determinants of trust include: the consumer’s knowledge and familiarity with the brand, cost-benefit calculations, but also faith, i.e. the belief in honesty and goodwill of the partner, which is what shapes opinions about the company. High consumer trust, according to transaction cost theory, reduces uncertainty and thus reduces transaction costs; as a result, consumer satisfaction, loyalty and commitment increase.
Among the key benefits of online shopping are the convenience of shopping, lower prices and a richer offer than in traditional stores. The credibility of a store is verified in 90% of cases by reading Internet user reviews. In a Gemius study of the e-commerce industry, respondents asked which elements influence the credibility of an online store they visit for the first time pointed to positive customer reviews as the most important element.
It is noteworthy that “Nice and clear product presentation,” as well as “Quality marks and certificates of trust awarded by independent organizations” were indicated by only 20% of respondents. This means that consumers trust the reviews of other users much more than “independent organizations.” This confirms the power of feedback as a factor that builds trust in a company and the sense of soliciting so-called emotional loyalty from customers.
Indeed, loyal customers of a given company are divided into those who are loyal because of economic benefits and those who are loyal because of the values represented by the company, i.e. customers who feel an emotional bond with the company and become its ambassadors. The trend appreciating the value of recommendations and positive reviews of a product or company is also present in the theory of customer value. After all, customer value is measured not only by the revenue generated, but also by positive reviews.
The online shopping process is specific, as each customer is only a mouse click away from changing stores. Customer reviews of an online store can relate to different stages of the customer’s purchase. At the selection stage, the compatibility of description on the website with a product actually received may be evaluated. Next, the review may concern the delivery time, and later on how complaints are handled and refunds are made for a product that did not meet the customer’s expectations.
In addition, it is worth noting that the reviews and comments of Internet users have a significant impact on purchasing decisions at the stage of seeking information about a product and considering purchase alternatives. Therefore, posting comments from previous purchasers of a product or customer served by a particular company increase the likelihood of making a purchase. Regardless of a company’s efforts, there will always be situations where negative reviews will appear. Even reliable stores have 5-7% unflattering comments. When negative reviews occur, a good strategy is to post the company’s response, indicating the steps taken to change the company for the better. This is why customer feedback is so important.
I would also add that negative comments give credibility to the other reviews on the site. According to the recommendations of specialists, when a negative review appears, you should analyze the reasons for the negative comment, post a pertinent and factual entry as soon as possible – apologize and offer a solution to the problem. This can be helped by the Rating Captain app, thanks to which all such negative (as well as positive) reviews are collected in one place and automatically analyzed by a special algorithm. It also makes it convenient for the customer to post reviews (online reviews) on Google and positions the company’s business card in searches.
Due to the importance of other users’ reviews and their influence on consumer decisions, there are problems with the falsification of online store reviews in Poland and elsewhere. This problem is to be taken care of by a recently announced EU directive (Directive (EU) 2019/2161), which requires businesses that allow customers to post reviews to prove if and how they conduct verification that they come from real consumers (those who have used or purchased the product).
How to verify the reliability of reviews? Rating Captain is adapted to these requirements as well, so that by using it you can avoid the fines announced by the EU. Even if you are a reliable businessman with professional service, implementing such verification into your business will be mandatory.