How Online Merchants Can Regain Customer Trust (And Why They Should)

Knowing how to regain customer trust is critical to running a web-based business. Online transactions are built on a foundation of trust. First, the customer must trust that the merchant has fairly represented their products. Next, that they’ll deliver on time. And finally, that they’ll protect their buyers’ financial and personally identifying information.

Trust often fails when an online seller fails to meet one of these obligations — even if it wasn’t their fault. It could be a container ship in the Suez Canal holding up delivery of your products. Or your hosting service got hacked and your customers’ information was stolen. Whatever the cause, as a merchant it’s your responsibility to make it right. Follow our tips to learn how to win back customers and regain customer trust.

How to Know When You’ve Lost Customer Trust

Don’t expect customers to tell you when you’ve lost their trust. A massive 96% of dissatisfied customers won’t make a complaint, but almost all of them (91%) will never repeat their business with that company. Even worse, they will each tell 9-15 of their friends to avoid the company as well.

Failing a customer can have a wide-reaching effect on the brand’s reputation, without ever getting an opportunity to fix the mistake. That’s why it’s so important to know how to regain trust of customers.

Customers usually lose trust because the business failed to meet expectations. The product might not be as good as anticipated. Slow shipping, poor communication, and mismanaging customers’ information are other top reasons.

Often, the first — and only — sign of lost trust comes in the form of falling revenue. If you notice your number of repeat customers declining, it’s time to consider how to win back customers and regain customer trust. That means discovering what went wrong.

Regain Customer Trust by Discovering What Went Wrong

Once you’ve noticed signs that you’ve lost your customers’ trust, it’s important to uncover why. Only then can you solve the problem and prevent more customers from walking away from your business.

Start by examining your product, website, and fulfillment. Is the product represented honestly on your site? Are the photographs to scale, the materials clearly labeled, and can it really do what you claim it does? Being as honest as possible about what you’re selling will result in happier buyers.

As well as reviewing your website, you should check that your products still match your descriptions. This is especially important if your primary business model is dropshipping. Small changes at the supplier’s end could lead to lots of dissatisfied customers if they mean you’re misrepresenting your product.

Finally, review the performance of your shipping and fulfillment provider. Are they delivering your products on time and in good condition? Or are customers left waiting for weeks, only to receive broken merchandise? While these factors might be out of your direct control, they still impact the reputation of your business. That means they’re critical to regaining customer trust.


ecommerce store owner customer support

Another way many vendors lose customer trust is through providing poor customer service. How does your business respond when a customer calls with a question or complaint? Do you provide clear guidance on how customers can contact you, and how long a response will take?

Many brands create negative customer experiences completely by accident, especially on social media. If your website has a Twitter or Facebook account, you need to anticipate customers using those channels to ask questions or raise complaints. Failure to respond to social messages will result in customers losing trust in your brand. Check all your accounts and communication channels for unread messages to avoid this pitfall.

While many customers won’t tell you directly what went wrong, they will tell others. Businesses can often identify how they lost trust by checking social media and third-party review sites. The complaints made by customers who do get in touch are incredibly important. But the most successful companies also take a proactive approach to learning where they made mistakes by regularly polling customers about their shopping experience.

How to Regain Trust of Customers

If your online business has lost its customers’ trust, it isn’t too late to win them back. First, take responsibility for what happened. Don’t try to shift blame elsewhere, even if a third party really is at fault. The relationship the customer has is with you, the merchant, and that’s who they expect to solve their problem.

Next, demonstrate proactive steps your business has taken to prevent the problem from happening again. That could be changing a product description, using a different shipping carrier, or retraining your customer support staff. If a customer gives your business a second chance, you must be sure they won’t experience the same complaint again.


customer leaves 5 star review

Finally, use feedback and review services to attract reviews from satisfied customers. A fifth of online shoppers say they never leave reviews, and just 19% of people leave reviews on a monthly basis or more frequently. In 41% of cases, a negative experience inspires the review. That means being proactive about requesting reviews from satisfied customers is incredibly important for building trust. As feedback ratings increase, past customers become more likely to give your business a second chance.

These three steps might seem simple, but they are the key to how to regain trust of customers. However, once you’ve tempted your customers to give you a second chance, it is critical that they see their complaint has been resolved. If you fail them a second time, they won’t ever come back.

Why Regaining Customer Trust Matters

Repeat customers are far more valuable to businesses than new ones. The average ecommerce store spends more than 80% of its advertising budget on customer acquisition. Attracting new customers is an expensive business. Repeat customers don’t cost anything. Instead they can help merchants to stabilize their income.

Loyal customers don’t just spend money, they also help to generate it. Word of mouth advertising is the most valuable form of advertising any merchant can get. We are all more likely to trust recommendations from people we know. Loyal, happy customers can become a brand’s biggest advocates — but only if they trust the store.

NSG Screenshots

The Norton Shopping Guarantee can help build and regain customer trust when things go wrong. Our on-site trust badge provides a quick link to the most influential purchasing information, such as shipping and returns policies, customer support contact details, and review and ratings. And our complete shopping guarantee resolves the top three causes of customer complaints.

Regain your customers’ trust with these simple tips, and then protect your business against the top causes of customer complaints with the Norton Shopping Guarantee.


Looking to increase shopper confidence? Find out how Norton Shopping Guarantee helps you eliminate buyer hesitation by instantly creating trust for visitors who shop on your site.

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