Why Lack Of Trust Is Hurting Business
There are two faces of Trust.
Understanding the difference has a major impact on customer perceptions and will avoid damaging your business.
TRANSACTIONAL TRUST is about your systems.
Does the product work? Is there reliability of delivery, security of personal details etc.
And it often ends right there.
It's essential as a base, and by itself might get you a first sale - but it's not enough!
Because then there's EMOTIONAL TRUST.
A key brand pillar when your revenue depends on a longer-term relationship.
Today's customers expect a business to embrace such values as being empathetic in personal interactions, and truthful in the information they disseminate.
To demonstrate a sense of social purpose, practice sustainability, and be a responsible member of the community.
Emotional Trust is not an algorithm! It requires human implementation.
Betrayal of Transactional Trust can also impact Emotional Trust
We had an interesting experience recently. A business we were starting a new relationship with, sent us a questionnaire. No mention of confidentiality or what the information was for, and the questions were deeply personal in nature.
At first, we were in shock, they were that personal. We contacted the company, and they were very apologetic and withdrew the questions.
But they planted a seed of doubt. Mistakes they’d made earlier that we didn’t worry about now became important. Was this how they operated? Were they trustworthy?
You can excuse human error, but when it affects you emotionally that’s a difficult thing to overcome.
As a community, our personal trust in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal has taken a battering. As compellingly documented in the Netflix documentary The Great Hack.
But the truth is we’ve created it. We are complicit.
Our embrace of connectivity comes at a damaging cost to our privacy, that we’re only just waking up to.
And if you look at social media stats, most of us are happy to allow big business and governments to control our data.
But what it does do, is make people more aware and alert.
It now takes longer to build trust, making it even harder for us to do business with them.
The Bigger Picture Of Societal Stresses
One source of information I always find interesting is the annual Edelman Trust Barometer, which this year focuses on the relationship between employers and employees. It points to societal stresses that play a role in influencing what people expect from business.
The point is that ‘Trust’ has become the number one issue for business today.
Businesses are on notice you have to be trustworthy on all fronts.
The exposure of Cambridge Analytica and the algorithms they developed was just the tip of the iceberg. There’ll be others out there offering similar, clever new systems.
The genie’s out of the bottle. This data will be used by governments and big business in the future and we are powerless to stop them.
A point driven home by Soshanna Zuboff in her book The Age Of Surveillance Capitalism
But It’s Not All Doom And Gloom
For every negative, there’s always a positive. As with any Threat, there is always an Opportunity.
For smart business leaders that means becoming transparent. Taking ownership of faults and displaying a human face.
Embracing conversations on an emotional level and showcasing empathy will position your business at a higher level of trust.
But you also need to ensure the Transactional Trust is stable. Being relatable and apologetic won’t make someone trust you, if you made a major mistake.
This is where solid systems and the right technology come into play.
How does Marketing Research impact Emotional Trust?
Response rates in research studies such as surveys, are declining.
And in many cases, that’s due to a lack of trust, which is also damaging the business.
Sending out an annual survey, for example, is not building trust. What it does say, is that you keep taking from me, a long time after the transaction.
Of course, that’s hard from a business perspective. You need the feedback so you can improve their experience.
As contradictory as it sounds, you’d be better off having more regular feedback mechanisms. Rather than the one big event that’s all about you, and nothing about what’s in it for them.
In fact, providing an open, transparent process, giving the most valuable people in your business (your customers), with a ‘safe space’ where they feel secure and protected will build on trust.
At the big end of business they have access to Brand Communities, which work as a relationship platform for a ‘captive audience’. Providing valuable feedback to keep evolving and heading off any issues before they affect the balance sheet.
These aren’t for everyone. We’re talking about 6 figure systems and further resources. Although there are DIY options like cliizii that do a similar thing, at a mere fraction of the price.
Building Trust while gathering insights isn’t out of reach
Eriks has written several Tip-Sheets and posts on how to make your research more engaging and trustworthy. So worth checking them out.
Trust is everything with any relationship. If you did something wrong that affected a loved one, you’d expect to work hard to gain that trust back.
The difference with personal relationships is that they’re prepared to give you another go.
But when your competitor offers the same product or service as you, but displays
Make trust a priority in your business. Gather your team and review everything you send out. Whether that’s email, sales dockets, marketing collateral, or marketing research.
Be keenly aware of the difference between Transactional and Emotional Trust.
Everything that your customers are exposed to should reek of trust. If it’s more about you than them, then don’t do it.
Building trust takes time for a business but damaging it could be just one transaction!
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