There is a thread at Cre8asite named 10 Things Your Web Site Should Be Doing, which brings up several interesting topics based on an article by Nick Finck. Now the thread gets into several interesting concepts, I will summarize the topic of Credibility Content and Trust Building Icons in this entry and then summarize Barry Welford's "OR Factor" in an other entry.
When it comes to "credibility content", content used to build up the credibility of your company, product and services - there are several avenues to take. One such avenue discussed in the thread is "testimonials", basically letters written by customers, showing their satisfaction with your company. James in the thread says "My personal view is that unless you are given enough information to contact the person providing the testimonial to check its authenticity, they hold little credibility." It is true, I have some clients that often write testimonials on their clients behalf. I personally have never read a testimonials page before making a purchase decision. In my proposals, I do provide a list of references that my prospects can contact with their credibility and trust questions. Testimonials without a method to contact those giving the testimonial holds little weight.
But is that true?
Let's look at some "trust building icons". I have recently decided to put Better Business Bureau's BBBOnLine Reliability Program Icon on my corporate site. So far I had 126 clicks on the icon, probably 20 of those clicks was me or someone at my office. I also have the Verisign Secure Site Seal icon on my corporate site, simply because I do have a secure login area. Do I know if it builds credibility for my company? I am not sure. Yesterday, one of my employees said that the BBB is a hoax, they do nothing to benefit you or the customer. I responded that maybe you and I know that as business owners, but does it mean anything to the prospect?
Of course you would think that all the trust building icon sellers have data on this. But it is all skewed. I have a client that uses HackerSafe, to build trust during the checkout process. My client is convinced that it has done nothing to improve sales and is not worth the investment, because there is zero or negative ROI. But yet, HackerSafe has data that proves otherwise. Interesting topic.