Why You Need 3rd Party Verification
by Andrew B.
As a business owner, you have a lot to say. You have promotions, partnerships, giveaways, and guarantees. You spend a ton of money to let everybody know about your products and services, filling every nook and cranny of ad space with your logo and information. You honestly believe you’re the best and you’re determined to tell me about it at every available opportunity.
That’s all well and good. Just understand that, as a customer, I don’t believe a word you say.
Let’s get real here. Every one of us has made the decision to avoid some businesses forever, and every one of those offending businesses promised us quality before letting us down. It used to be tough to tell what places were good or bad without trying them out. Not anymore. Here are the three reasons why, as a customer, I want a second opinion about you–and why you want to make sure what I find about you is positive and easy to find.
For every honest business it seems there are a thousand crooks and sleaze-bags spouting out fake statistics and printing fancy brochures. They’re trying to appear as anything but what they really are: Garbage. We all know somebody who was conned by a car dealership and we’ve all eaten at that restaurant we were pretty sure failed health inspection. Scams are just a sad part of life.
Well, as a consumer, you’ll have to forgive me if I’m not OK with that.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” as George Santayana so eloquently stated, and, as an internet shopper, I don’t intend to be one of those doomed repeaters. There are hundreds of people out there who have already made the mistakes I’m trying to avoid. Thanks to the internet, I now have easy access to their experienced warnings. You’re company is bad at customer service? I’m going to know it. Do you bury your real money-making tactics in fine print? Yeah, I’m gonna know that too. Somehow, I’ll find a place that tells me who you really are, good or bad, because I’m not willing to be a sucker if I can help it. So you’d better give me independent proof.
Advertising Is Untrustworthy
Congratulations on the cumulative results of your advertising spending: I now know your name! Unfortunately for you, that may be as close as your ad is going to get you to my wallet.
My next stop is the internet (it’s not far from where I work and live, incidentally.) Sure, your fancy magazine ad was impressive, but so was the ad for magic money-making pills on the next page, and I’m pretty sure at least one of you is feeding me lies. I’m looking you both up and, unless I can find somebody to back up your claims, I’m going to take anything you say with a grain of salt. Maybe the whole shaker’s worth.
Fancy advertisements still tell bold-faced lies. That’s why I’m going to go looking for news, videos, reviews, or whatever else exists out there about you, no matter how funny your TV spot was.
Smart Shoppers are Loyal Shoppers
“But we’ve had loads of success in advertising without worrying about third-party verification,” you respond. “Why should we spend time and money on obtaining something that hasn’t been a drain on our bottom line so far?” You clearly aren’t aware of how investigative shoppers, like me, operate. Suffice to say you want us in your client list. You want us very, very badly.
It’s true that not everybody is going to Google your name into the dark corners of the internet abyss. Even I take chances online, and I’m pretty paranoid about this stuff. Even so, when cautious shoppers do look for third-party verification we don’t stop until we find it. Usually, good information is easy to find if it exists and the harder we have to look for that positive info, the less we’re willing to risk on you. But here’s where things get interesting for all you good companies out there:
Since research is a time consuming process, and one we’d rather not repeat if we can avoid it, smart shoppers become fiercely loyal and vocal when we find a quality company. If you make your third-party verification easily available on your site, be it a trust seal, news report, or just a plain-old customer review, you’ve solved two dilemmas at once: I now trust your site (it’s been vouched for independently) and I didn’t spend forever developing that trust (the proof I needed was right there waiting on your homepage.) You’ve officially made me a warm lead and have a good chance of making me a lifetime customer.
Once you do show me how awesome you are, I will tell everyone about you. I will defend you ferociously and sound off about you in every ear that will hear. This determination on my part to spread the word about you and help you grow creates new, valuable third-party verification in itself… and it didn’t cost you a dime.
So you were right in that a lack of third-party verification on your site may not drain your bottom line. But adding verification will always improve it.
In short, investing in third-party verification provides just the push your best potential customers need to fill their shopping cart. That translates to a significant increase in sales and a more loyal customer base than you’ve ever enjoyed. Seems like a winning investment to me.