Trust sits at the heart of any relationship and that includes the relationship you have with your customers. But it’s a fragile thing and once broken, just like any relationship, it’s very difficult to rebuild.
What is trust really? I think it’s a sense that a company cares about its customers, doesn’t just treat you like a number but wants to nurture a relationship with you.
So, can you measure it, and can you increase the number of customers who trust you? You can certainly ask people directly but it’s such a subjective thing that finding an actionable measurement is hard.
Should you try to measure it? I would argue you should because it’s more than simply a nice to have tick box. If you don’t know where you fall short, then how can you improve?
Maybe better to measure those things that are most likely to engender trust, like warmth and empathy. I don’t think you can understand trust from a single component or a single point in time. You have to assess whether all those important aspects of the customer experience are consistently performed at a high level. Are you always easy to get hold of? Do you know your customers / remember what they said last time / note that they tried to contact you on a different channel? Are you always friendly, warm and caring? Do you make things easy for your customers? Do you always do what you say you’re going to do? Are you always honest? Do you always make your customers feel valued? Do you deal with problems well?
Gathering these measurements and then correlating them with perceptions of trust will help you locate what is really driving that sense of assurance you get when you trust a company or brand.
Also, it works both ways. So, do you trust your customers? I ordered something online but it wasn’t right, so I told them. They sent me another one before I could send the original back. They trusted me. They treated me like an adult. Fantastic. This really heated up how I felt about them.
Some companies manage to build mutual trust although it takes hard work and dedication. True it is easily lost, but once broadly established, I think your customers will be more forgiving of the odd small mistake because they will have confidence in your integrity.