Trust what is it and why does it matter?


Trust lies at the heart of almost everything we do everyday. which is hwy when our trust is lost we can feel betrayed, angry and even taken for granted.

But is trust and why do we hold it so dear?

Trust can be defined a reliance of the integrity, strength, ability or certainty of  a person, product or service. -
Looking at this definition we can safely assume that trust is not about a matter of technique, a trick or  tool to be used, but a matter of your character.

Trust is like blood pressure, silent and vital to good health but when abused can be deadly. - Frank Sonnenberg

Taking a look at this as a whole it becomes clear that before a company can earn a customer's business, they first must earn their trust.  After all research has shown that the most-trusted companies have higher revenues, profitability and shareholder returns. So what do we need to do to inspire our customers to trust us.

Take for example the last time you went into a shop you'd never been in before.  You walk in and begin to look around.

Within seconds you have already began to make a series of quiet evaluations. As you wander around, picking things up, you have already thought about how the prices compare to what you’ve seen elsewhere. You have asked yourself what is different about the merchandise, is it clever or tasteful or unique. But there are other, less overt ways that you have been evaluating the store, as well. Looking around, you see if you’re the only customer or if the store is crowded. You notice if the displays look faded or fresh and if the staff is bored or attentive.

The results of these quick evaluations determine whether you buy something or you turn around and walk out empty-handed. The intangible qualities of the shop, the overall vibe have a huge influence on your decision to buy.

So how can we inspire trust with our customers when they shop online were they have less information to make the same decision of trust.

Stephan Delbos of Brand Embassy wrote an article for their blog earlier this year. In it he states "At one time or another, everyone buys something on the internet. For some it’s a 2:30am purchase of a waterproof radio that sticks to the shower wall, and for others it’s a simple pair of pants." So we can see at some point we have all trust one enough to make a purchase without ever seeing the product or service we were buying. So who did these companies inspire trust within us to make these purchases.

Stephan suggests that this is all down to how responsive the company's website is to our needs be this through bots or empathetic human contact. He also states that making contact with your customers is only the first step the second is how quickly we can do it. First Response Time is what he believes is key to winning your customers, by answering their questions in the shortest amount of time possible we will be able to earn their trust and eventually their custom.

While having a low first response time is great it is not the only factor behind why a customer will first you. Abby Glassenberg of points out our trust in online business is dependent on a number of factors such as :

An indication that your online business is trustworthy is the design and functionality of the site itself. Like a cluttered and dusty brick-and-mortar store, an outdated website will not inspire confidence. You may find it hard to believe that in 2016 this advice still hasn't hit hoe for some people, but I'm sure if we all know a website that can greatly benefit from a simple redesign. However if a full redesign is not with you budget there are two things you can to that will help inspire trust in your company. The first and easiest to implement is to take a look over your site to ensure your product descriptions are free of grammar and spelling errors. The second, test the speed of your site to be sure potential customers aren’t clicking away due to long load times. 

When customer's have to make decision to buy form a company they have never bought from before they look to other people guide us. Their experience with a product/ service can have a powerful influence over future customers.

By offering testimonials from past/existing customers directly on your site you can quickly build confidence in future customer's mind showing them it is safe to trust you and what you sell.

Consistency proves that you can make and keep promises. If you have a blog, it should be updated on a regular basis, with this commitment our faith in you as a business can be strengthened. We as customers see that you did what you said you would do. And we trust that you’ll do the next thing, too.

But happens when you make a mistake and lose your customers trust. Can it be won back.

The short answer is yes and to prove this all we have to do is look to the car manufacturing industry.
Only last year Volkswagen experienced a major PR disaster when they had to recall over 500,000 vehicles, after sharing incorrect emissions information with authorities. Toyota had to recall of 9 million cars in 2009, Ford recalled almost 19 million vehicles in 1996, and GM’s has recalled over 30 million cars since 2010.

Despite each of these major PR disasters that may have led to the companies losing their customer's trust. We can see that they have been able to repair the damage these events have done by following these simple steps.

Acknowledging the issue

The first step to regaining your customers trust is to admit that their is an issue in the first place. As part of acknowledging the issue you should also investigate the issue. This is best done by creating a task force with a full mandate to act on behalf of the company while the crisis unfolds. Being silent or slow to communicate with the outside world can do more harm to your company than good. Once you have the task force in place they should be able to act without internal bureaucracy and, most importantly, quickly enough to keep up with the press and social media.


Unlike OneRepublic says in their hit song, it’s never “too late to apologize. ” (If you didn’t get the pop culture reference click here)

We all learned as kids that the key to apologising is sincerity. Just like when you were a kid, apologising simply because you are forced to apologise will come across shallow and insincere.

If at all possible, meet with your customers face to face. When you look someone in the eye and say, “I’m sorry,” it is 1,000 times more sincere than a phone call or especially an e-mail.

In fact, emailing an apology note may be worse than the initial error itself. It basically reads, “I cared enough to write a couple of sentences and move on with my day.”

Also, since you have already addressed the issue, you now need to apologise for the specific error that was made. Don’t just apologise in generalisations, but apologise for the specific infraction committed. Your customer will always  hear the difference.

Rebuild your reputation

Now it’s time to get to work. Acknowledgement and apologies only go so far if no action is taken. Remember you’ve just lost your most essential brand value—trust—so anything and everything you say in the future will be questioned. Next up fix the damn problem. if you are going to recover and regain your customers trust you need to fix the problem and fix it fast.

However, you may not be able to fix the specific issue. There are times when what has been done is done. In these cases, you need to come up with a plan of action for how you will address the issue for your customers and prevent it form occurring again.

This not a time for running and hiding. This is the time to be up front, present, and responsive. Even after you have addressed the situation head on, there is still much work to be done. To be sure you have repaired the damage done you need to be prepared to astonish your customers. While it common sense that you set out to astonish all your customers, you need to sprinkle in a few extra “awesome moments” for those customers that still are not 100% sure they made the right decision in choosing you after you let them down.

Crisis or not you should always look to get to know your customer better, consistently adding insane value, will allow you to become one partner they couldn’t imagine NOT having on their team.

Final thoughts

Looking back we see that trust is the building block to every relationship we will ever have. earning our customers trust can be an emotional process which why it can take a long time to build but only seconds to destroy. However when we make a mistake that leads to losing this trust, by acknowledging the mistake and apologising for it we can take first steps on the long road to rebuilding this trust. 

 Further reading

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.