It’s easy to build trust when you have the opportunity to connect with customers in person. You can look into their eyes, read their expressions and interact on a personal level. Even on the phone, you can read a customer’s tone of voice and react accordingly. But building trust online is a different story—not necessarily more difficult, just different.

Certain companies have excelled at building trust online, such as Zappos, Apple and Sephora. They have been recognized in many surveys and studies as being among top online retailers. So how can you build trust online?  Here are seven uncommon, common-sense ways:

1.    Remember that people do business with people. Even in the online world, where customers purchase through a website, that website is designed by people to be used by people. Make your site easy to navigate and simple to understand.

2.    Be accessible through multiple channels. In other words, you may have a great call center, but you should also have support available through the other channels, such as email, text, Facebook or Twitter.

3.    Make contact information available on each page. Make it easy for a customer to call, email or connect with you by repeating your contact information on each page of your website.

4.    Keep telephone hold times to a minimum. It can be frustrating for a customer to have to wait for extended periods of time. It sends a message that the company doesn’t care enough to staff properly. Consider technology that will let the customer know how long the wait time is and offer the option of an automatic callback.

5.    When a customer contacts you via social channels, respond quickly. Get back to your customer in minutes, not hours or days. If I wanted my question answered two hours from now, I would have waited two hours to ask it.

6.    Share social proof. Use testimonials from happy customers to help prove trust and increase customer confidence.

7.    Ask your customers to post online reviews. This shows that you’re confident you will deliver a great customer service experience and resolve any problems which may arise, resulting in a glowing review.

The old ways of establishing trust may not work in the virtual world. No problem—you can still gain your customers’ confidence and trust with these 7 tips.

Sign up for The Lead and get a new tip in your inbox every day! More tips:

Shep Hyken is a professional speaker and best-selling author. For more information on Shep’s speaking presentations, call 314-692-2200, email shep@hyken.com or go to www.hyken.com