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3 Ways to Increase Trustworthiness of a Product

Can you think of a product you no longer trust?

  • Maybe it’s one where what you purchased was broken for so long it had a serious impact on your time and ability to get things done?
  • Perhaps you purchased something at a store where your credit card details were skimmed?
  • Or could you have possibly bought something where the salesperson didn’t quite give you the full details you should’ve known to make a good decision?

If any of these scenarios happened to you, you’ll probably avoid going back to those places or products for a very long time. Why? Because you just don’t trust them.

Trustworthiness, while not a metric you may think much about as a product manager can have a huge impact on the success of your product.

Obviously, trust is something best not broken in the first place. However, if you would like to improve the trustworthiness of a product whose reputation has declined over time, here are three ways to do so:

1.) Improve reliability

Just like the ice cream machine at McDonald’s, if a product feels like it’s frequently down, it doesn’t inspire a lot of trust in users.

Your customers shouldn’t have to question whether or not they’ll be able to use your product today. That’s why you need to be concerned about product reliability. Great reliability = greater trust.

How can you improve reliability?

If something is always breaking in your application, fix it or swap it out with something that will work consistently.

If something is running slow, figure out ways to speed it up.

If your server is always down, switch to a new hosting provider or fix any code that may be breaking things.

Track metrics like downtime, reliability, and site responsiveness to see how your product and site’s reliability changes over time.

2.) Display indicators of trust

Ever visited a site that just looked sketchy or old and nope’d right out of there? The content could’ve been good, but if the site gave you flashbacks to the 90’s, you wonder if their payment security is also still back in the 90’s.

Here are some trust indicators you can add to your site to make sure your visitors don’t bounce right away:

  • Design. Spend some time to make your site look decent. A poorly designed site that screams amateur is unlikely to inspire trust to a new visitor.
  • Include social proof. Not everyone wants to be the first to try something out. What everyone does want is to know that what they’re buying does the job they need it to. That’s where social indicators come in. These can take the forms of logos of recognizable customers, testimonials, case studies, reviews, and more.
  • Security badges, HTTPS. Would you make a payment through an http only site today? Heck no! Adding little things like an https certificate or security badge is a quick win to improve the trustworthiness of your site.

3.) Be more transparent

While secrecy may inspire conspiracy theories and rumors (Apple launches and Area 51 anyone?), it does very little to improve trust.

So, what’s the opposite of secrecy? Transparency.

To increase trust, you’ll want to be more transparent in your business.

Here are 3 things you can do to increase trust through transparency:

  • Do post-mortems. Not everything goes right 100% of the time. That’s OK. What’s not OK is leaving your customers in the dark when it does. If something goes wrong, write about it after the fact. Check out this post-mortem Cloudflare did as a great way to rebuild trust after an outage.
  • Authentic copy. Show your true personality through the copy on your website. Write like you speak. Avoid long, droning sentences. Heck, go crazy and add some humor in there if you can.
  • Have a great about page. Your about page should show that you and your team are real human beings. Add non-stock photos of the team and stories wherever possible.

There you have it! 3 ways to increase trust and transparency. If you have any other tactics and strategies, add them in the comments section below.


  • Jaakko Timonen

    Thanks for the great blog post, Corinn! You asked for other tactics and strategies. I have a question for you. What would you think of posting resolved customer complaints or “customer complaint resolution reviews”?

    What I mean by that is that after a company has resolved its customer’s complaint, the customer will review how well the complaint was resolved.

    Thanks in advance!

    • corinn

      I think that’s a great idea! My previous company did this and it was a great way to figure out where we weren’t getting customers the clarity they needed. We did it mostly internally though — I feel like complaints may not be something you want to put out there unless you can do it in a clever and witty way (check this one out for some entertainment 🙂 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1L3eeC2lJZs).

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