Trust is extremely expensive. It can take years to earn and seconds to be lost. But, if it’s earned, trust can make a significant impact to a brand’s bottom line – which is exactly why marketing executives are investing in it.

If a bank is going to start investing in trust, it would be helpful to know what things they should focus on. While traditionally banks could establish trust in-house, in today’s world they need to jump from behind their branch doors into the online world.

They need to establish trust through a computer screen.

What can they do? Well, lucky for you we have created a list of 5 things FIs can do to foster a trusting relationship. (Even if there’s no person-to-person interaction.)

1. Updated Design/Layout

The modern consumer is very capable of recognizing an old, out of date, horribly designed website. Having one can be a huge turnoff to customers (especially of younger generations.) And for that reason, many banks and credit unions will need to update designs and layouts of websites.

Designing a bank website that is modern and trustworthy is no easy feat. It typically involves the hiring of a third-party, and executives should go in having a basic understanding of what works well. For that reason, here are 10 principles of effective web design.

2. Spelling and Grammar Counts

When establishing trust online, a bank will need to clearly and articulately convey their products and services. Additionally, a bank will need to describe the people that make up the organization, the community the bank is a part of, and what the company’s mission statement. All of this will be done with words written on the page.

With that, banks cannot afford to use poor spelling and grammar, or to use language that doesn’t mesh well with their overall brand image. It will cause consumers to distrust the organization. If banks struggle with creating copy they should hire a professional.

3. Start Using Social Media

Research has shown that 95% of millennials expect brands to be on Facebook. Additionally, 87% of 30-44 year olds and even 70% of 45-60 year olds think brands, at the very least, should have a Facebook page. The importance of other social media platforms is less, but only by approximately 10%.

Social media is important to consumers. They want to interact and work with brands that are dedicated to showing transparency, accountability, and delivering fantastic customer service. In an industry where trust is severely lacking, showing these aspects of banks to consumers using social tools will help regain what is missing.

4. Customer Feedback/Proof

Once you start using social media as a two-way communication tool, begin to get feedback from already loyal customers. Potential clients will trust the opinions of other consumers over a brand message. Social media allows you to capture that feedback and then host it on your website.

If you need further proof, 90% of customers say buying decisions are affected by online reviews. So, if your bank isn’t on social media and tons of people leave negative reviews, potential customers who read these are likely going to look elsewhere. But, if a bank is on social media, responds to those concerns, and promotes positive feedback, prospects will be more inclined to trust your bank.

5. Provide Contact Information

Customers want a way to contact you. One way is to go the traditional route and provide emails, phone numbers, and a mailing address. The other way is to promote communication on social media channels. (Obviously, only if you have a representative monitoring these channels who can respond in a timely manner.)

Consumers want to interact with you on their time, and on their terms. They find comfort in knowing they can reach you whenever they want.

Community banks have done a great job establishing trust in-house. If consumers only wanted banks that were product or technology focused, community banks would have become extinct a long, long time ago. But they haven’t.

But this is no reason to rest easy, they could lose it in an instant. If community banks don’t keep up with the lifestyles of consumers, customers will start trusting brands that do.

And just like that, it could all be lost.

How has your FI gained trust in the digital age? Let us know in the comments below!