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The danger of assuming that trust exists

We don’t need research (although there is plenty) to confirm that trust in our business matters – probably more than ever. Apparently, nearly 90% of business leaders believe that customers trust their companies, whereas only 30% of customers actually do trust them.

I’m actually prepared to believe the claim that trust in institutions is at an all-time low.

So how do we encourage trust in our brand?

For new customers, I think that we have to take a good look at how we present ourselves, perhaps starting with the home page of our website, which is probably the place where most of them get their first serious impressions. One exercise may be to establish a series of questions, and evaluate if (and how) we answer them quickly. Examples could include:

  • Do we seem honest and transparent about what we do, and why?
  • Do we have positive company values, and why are they relevant?
  • Do we understand our customers, and can we prove it?
  • Do we ensure every customer is satisfied, and how?

Most of us will be able to think of other questions, but whatever they are, it’s an important exercise. Membership of industry bodies, awards, demonstrations of thought leadership… all of these can help.

Going back to the statistic about the complacency of business leaders, I suspect the disconnect is caused not because there aren’t any reasons to trust a company, but because the company hasn’t realised that it’s forgetting to explain what those reasons are.