Fortunately for small businesses, American consumers consistently trust smaller companies more than they do large corporations. However, company reputation and credibility still influence consumer decision-making, and the image of a CEO running a business out of their basement doesn’t instill confidence in a potential customer. Help your audience develop trust in your business by giving it the polished, established feel of a larger enterprise with these five steps.
1. Invest in Your Company’s Image
In an environment with constantly developing web capabilities, a website with faulty buttons or formatting that harkens back to the late ‘90s sticks out like a sore thumb. 75 percent of consumers judge a business’s credibility based on their website design; keep your small business competitive by spending the extra money to build an informative, functional and vibrant website.
Quality design work for your business’s other assets can help uphold your brand’s strong presence as well. Develop a professional and consistent logo, email signature and business card design to reflect professionality.
Tip: If your company has only a few employees, avoid listing titles; executives handling mundane tasks signals that the business is in its infancy and may hurt your credibility.
2. Build Social Media Presence
Websites aren’t businesses’ only online presence anymore. Social media is integral to building a business’s credibility: high engagement and post quality indicate a legitimacy and industry expertise. Growing companies should discuss relevant industry topics and interact with users in their community to build brand awareness and confidence.
Tip: Visual content is 40 percent more likely to be shared on social media. Consider creating a customer testimonial video to infuse a credible human connection into your business’s brand.
3. Establish Legitimacy with a Professional Phone System
It would be unusual for the CEO of a Fortune 500 company to answer a call to the company’s main number, or for inbound calls to receive a busy signal or someone’s voicemail. Large companies generally have phone systems that connect several employees, departments and locations; emulate this structure to give your business a bigger feel. VoIP solutions provide auto-attendants and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) menus that answer incoming calls and route them to the appropriate recipient through a VoIP PBX. While IVRs should not be overly complicated, consider including two or three menu options to give the impression of a business with multiple departments; do not exceed five options, due to the risk of overwhelming callers.
Tip: Burstable SIP VoIP trunks can prevent callers from receiving busy signals by allowing calls to come through even when all purchased lines are in use.
4. Encourage Calls with a Toll-Free or Vanity Number
Further increase your business’s credibility and inbound call rates with a toll-free or vanity number. VoIP toll-free numbers are quite affordable, and give the impression of a large, established business. Vanity numbers gain businesses competitive advantage by providing memorable contact information—in fact, vanity numbers receive 30 percent more calls than regular phone numbers, when advertised.
Tip: Calling a cell phone number to reach a company is a dead giveaway of a startup. Increase your company’s perceived size by investing in a dedicated company phone line.
5. Promote Professionality
Regardless of your company’s size, leverage formality and personal branding to give the impression of an enterprise-level operation. Combat the startup-casual stereotype by instating a dress code with employees and speaking confidently and professionally on a consistent basis—not just when clients are within earshot; the best presentation is well-practiced and ingrained behavior.
Cheeky Tip: Try referencing an “assistant” when making appointments, even if you don’t have one. It’s cheeky but it may just give the impression you need until your business hits the big time and has reception, assistants and employees galore.
Make the Most of Small Investments
Small investments can go a long way in cultivating customer trust by branding your business as large and established. VoIP is an affordable way for small startups and call centers alike to provide professional contact numbers and efficiently manage calls. To find out how 4Voice’s business VoIP solutions can help increase customer confidence and grow your business, download our infographic on the 10 advantages of our phone service today.