As more transactions shift to online, trust badges such as the Trusted Partner seals provided through the ADP Trusted Local Certification™ program are becoming increasingly important in building confidence in a business. As theinteractions between a business and the consumer are affected by multiple challenges, we can see that the familiar trust factors of the past have shifted.

Online interactions, along with printed sales materials, are simply not as effective as they used to be – unless trust takes center stage from the beginning of the interaction. The inability to engage a consumer or to address a single signal that raises concerns can bring an interaction to a halt – with plenty of alternative businesses at the ready to take advantage of this.

Why Is Trust Important in Business?

Trust is central to all transactions between a buyer and a seller. A consumer that has only limited information about the company they are interacting with, or buying a product or service from, is taking a risk. Some of the concerns can be mitigated through prior experiences and branding, but there is always an element of uncertainty in a transaction. Trust badges, along with elements like positive reviews, visible contact information and various security features reduce the perceived risk to a satisfactory level.

The Decision-Making Process of a Consumer

When consumers make a purchase online or in-store, the decision-making process for these actions does vary. Many of the same key indicators are present, such as price variations and product differences, but during the online purchase process the consumer will lose some of the immediacy.

As Dr. Dennis Fromholzer of CRM Associates noted, “Ads that have a certification seal get 10% more calls.” This is exactly why ADP founded the Trusted Local Certification Programs.

The same purchase process also applies to advertisers who are considering using a publisher’s services. The Trusted Local Publisher™ seal can be a core component in trust-building for publishers. And for businesses, the Trusted Local Business™ seal meets this need.

Considerations in the Buying Process

Most purchases are emotional decisions that are subsequently rationalized. Consumer decisions are typically made at the subconscious level, with trust playing a critical role. Businesses spend a great deal of time and money developing stories about their brand and products, speaking directly to a target audience. However, if a consumer is going to act on these feelings, they need to believe the company has certain characteristics. Trust badges are a key signifier of these desired attributes.

  • Reliability – Consumers need to believe a business will deliver everything they promise, and at the time they state.
  • Consistency – The belief that each aspect of the buying process will follow a consistent and predictable pattern.
  • Competency – The assurance that the business has the ability and experience to perform every task the transaction requires.

The Role of a Third-Party Authority in Building Trust

It just isn’t feasible for consumers to perform a detailed analysis of each company they encounter. But there is a solution – relying on the work of a third party is an efficient way to access the information required to gain trust. Professional associations, government agencies and consumer organizations ensure that a business fulfills certain requirements thatmeet their standards. The credibility of the certifier is crucial to the seal’s value. In the absence of established branding, noticeable price variations, or clear product differentiation, a trust badge becomes pivotal to the sales process.

Hierarchy of Trust

The most important element in building trust among consumers is word of mouth. A recommendation from a friend is the best way to gain trust and secure a sale. And though the recommendation comes from a third party, a seal of approval provides a similar trigger. The seal of approval can come in the form of online reviews and customer testimonials – and trust badges from a credible organization like ADP.

Trust at Each Stage of the Buying Process

A purchase rarely occurs during the first interaction with a brand. Sales are typically cultivated over a series of interactions of different types. During the initial awareness phase of brand discovery, a trust seal might not play a major role. But as a consumer starts to investigate more closely, they begin to evaluate a business with the possibility of using their services.

At this more advanced stage of the process, as the reality of a transaction becomes more likely, trust becomes crucial. Trust badges or seals reassure consumers about security, data integrity, customer service standards and accountability, and even clear pricing statements – at the precise point when it is required the most.

How to Apply for ADP’s Trusted Local Seal

There is no doubt that every business can benefit from a recognized trust seal. ADP seals are used to great effect across numerous print and online products. After a review of accountability, ethics, data integrity, security and other factors, applicants to the ADP program can become a Trusted Local Publisher or Trusted Local Partner™. To become a Trusted Local Business the seal must be purchased through a Trusted Local Publisher. Learn more about how to become ADP-certified, and about our Trusted Local Certification program now.