Ten years ago I had a terrible experience with a large retail computer chain. Yesterday, I decided to give them another chance and purchased a new laptop. The sales associate was fantastic, the price was good, and they had the product in-stock.
Everything went so well, I paid the extra for their warranty and for them to install all of the software onto the laptop me to save some time. I asked how long this would take. They told me 4 hours and that they would call me when complete. I verified this information several times and each account was the same. The store closed 11 hours later and no phone call.
The next morning up to an hour and a half after the store opened, the automated message still announced the store hours and mentioned that they are currently closed (which they were not) and therefore I had to travel to the store again to find out the status and discovered they only started working on it that morning and it would take about 4 hours. Needless to say it may be another 10 years before I return again.
Although this is a traditional retail experience, online is no different. You can have the most beautiful website, the best information, the leading authorities in you industry, and the best price, however if you do not hold true to what you tell your customers, all of that effort is wasted.
No amount of search optimizing, marketing, or design, will stop the flow of customers who are willing to go elsewhere, pay a little more, get less qualified information, but know that when something will be delivered it will be…guaranteed.
Nothing is more valuable than trust.