Conversations: Creating Trust

Tracy Borreson on October 23, 2019

Very few people in this world do business without trust. They don't stay in relationships with people they don't trust. They don't travel via modes of transportation they don't trust. They don't read articles from sources they don't trust. And they don't buy from brands they don't trust.

Today, I'm looking at 3 common gaps that lose brands trust points with their customers. 

Not adhering to specific requests and preferences: information is provided daily by our customers, both directly and indirectly. Often, this data is provided so that we can use it to our improve our relationship with them. But if we don't use it responsibly, it can have the opposite effect.

I'll give a personal example here. I needed someone to come and look at our home security system, and I scheduled an appointment. I emphatically told the rep making the appointment that the technician would need to call MY cell phone, and not my husband's (whose number is on the account). The day arrives, I wait for the 3 hour window - no contact. I resign myself to the fact that I'll need to re-book, and go to take my son for a walk. What do I see but a note on the door saying they came and I wasn't home. No call to my cell. 

Immediately, I start to believe that I can't trust them to follow my explicit instructions. And the same day, I started researching other home security companies. 

I'm sure there's examples that you can think of as well. You ask for a specific drink at Starbucks and get something else. You order something for dinner and the wrong dish arrives. Each time these things happen, it carves away at our trust factor. 

Another area where brands lose points on this front is when it comes to communication preferences, i.e. my customer tell me they prefer SMS communications and I ignore it. Each time I send a communication to them that is NOT on their preferred channel, it's like a slap in the face, telling them I want to collect their information, but I have no intention of honoring it. Why would they continue to provide you with information if they know you won't use it to create a better experience for them? So, you either lose their business entirely, or minimally, they pull away so you can't learn any more about them.

Each time you commit one of these blunders, it diminished your trust in the eyes of your customers. The collection of the data is not enough. It needs to be used with respect, to add value to the relationship. 

Not giving them important details: each time a customer contracts with you, there are relevant details they need to have. From delivery timelines, to insurance coverage, without knowledge of the details, your customers can feel like you are taking advantage of them. 

Let's say you get "comprehensive" insurance coverage. You received a HUGE package in the mail with all of the small print, which you don't read, because your customer service rep summed it all up for you. Then, your house is flooded. You submit a claim to your insurance company, only to find out that you aren't covered for floods. And that's that. 

Um...what? It's never OK to hide important details from your customers. Being upfront with all of the communication is the only way to create trust in the on-boarding process? Will they like everything? No. But they will respect and trust you because you are taking care of them. 

Not communicating with them in a timely manner: there are times when communication takes away from your relationship (irrelevant welcome messages that provide no details on how to do business with you), and there's times when they can add significantly to the relationship (a notice that a catastrophic event is going to hit your city). But a good messages delivered at the wrong time, is equally frustrating. 

Telling you when your new mattress will be delivered AFTER it's delivered. Telling you that a hurricane is expected to affect you AFTER your roof is destroyed. Telling you that your flight is delayed AFTER you've checked out of your hotel at 4am. 

Best case scenario, they think that you are incompetent. That's the BEST case scenario. 

Frustration NEVER leads to trust. 

The good news? Customers usually provide strong feedback in these cases. So, if you can use it wisely to impact your operations, you may still have a chance to recover. 

Using these gaps to CREATE Trust

Here are some steps you can take to improve your trust factor if you are currently falling into these gaps:

  1. Collect your customers preferences AT ALL TOUCHPOINTS;
  2. Tell them what you are using their data for AND HONOR THAT;
  3. Give them all the important details UPFRONT AT EACH TRANSACTION; and

The SPLICE ROCC Program has been built to specifically satisfy points 1, 2 and 4. If you're looking for a one-stop-shop to help you bridge these gaps, check it out