In a peer-to-peer marketplace, trust is your most important currency. In order to participate, people need to feel safe stepping into a stranger’s car or allowing someone who they do not know sleep in their home. People need to know that their risk is minimal and acceptable. By taking precautions to ensure that everyone participating in your marketplace is trustworthy, you can better ensure that everyone feels safe and comfortable taking part.
1. Screen Participants.
The level of vetting necessary will depend on how exposed your participants are going to be. There’s a lot less at stake when you rent your neighbor’s leaf blower for a day than there is when you get into a strange person’s vehicle in a city that you do not know.
On Uber’s Safety page, the outline the steps they take to keep both riders and drivers safe. Drivers are subject to background checks to ensure that they are trustworthy. This allows riders to know that they are getting a ride from someone who is safe.
2. Offer Community Rating.
Uber, Airbnb and other sharing networks allow participants to leave reviews for one another. These reviews are visible to anyone else who wishes to engage with other participants. On Airbnb, there are also private notes that can be sent directly to the platform if you are uncomfortable leaving a public review.
On these platforms, people choose to do business with the participants with the best ratings. The ratings offer a sort of social proof: if someone else had a good experience, you can be more sure that you will, too.
3. Go For Transparency.
There’s some truth behind the adage: trust, but verify. Good sharing networks allow everyone to have as much information as possible about one another while still maintaining safety.
On Airbnb, for instance, participants can link their Facebook profiles to their accounts. This makes it easier for the people who they will be sharing space with to see who they are. You can look over a profile for any potential red flags as well as verify the real world details of the person who will be staying with you or who you will be staying with.
Uber also offers a great deal of easily viewable information. When you order a ride or someone orders a ride from you, you can see their prior rating information. Drivers’ names, car models and license plate numbers are shared. A trip sharing feature allows you to send your route and ETA to friends. This means that people always know where you are.
Features like these give people the information that they need to feel secure. When they feel safer, they are far more likely to trust you and the other participants in your marketplace.
4. Offer Some Protection.
On eBay, buyers have protections in place that allow them to get a refund if a product they bought is faulty or otherwise not as described. Airbnb offers a significant amount of insurance coverage to people who open up their homes.
These actions reduce the risk that your participants are taking on. The idea of somebody trashing your treasured beach house can be traumatic. However, the knowledge that any repairs you have to make will be covered helps you feel more comfortable about taking the risk. Participants are more likely to put their tools, their homes and their cars in your marketplace when they know that they have both protection and some recourse if things go wrong.
Trust Isn’t Automatic.
The best thing to remember is that your participants’ trust must be earned. By demonstrating that you are trustworthy through the actions above, you can make people relax and feel safer about taking part. As your community grows, more ratings and word of mouth praise will help build that trust even more. Over time, you’ll develop a thriving marketplace where everyone benefits.