By Shep Hyken
There is a trust gap between customers and the companies and brands they do business with. The two questions to ask that will define this gap are:
- Do you think your customers trust you? (This is opinion.)
- Do your customers trust you? (This is fact.)
The difference between the two questions is the trust gap. If you think your customers trust you, that’s a 100% score. When you ask your customers if they trust you and receive answers other than YES, then the average of those answers subtracted from 100 is your trust gap.
Consider the findings from PwC’s 2022 Consumer Intelligence Series Survey on Trust. Eighty-seven percent of executives think customers highly trust their companies, but only about 30% of customers do. That’s a 57% gap! OUCH!
And if you think that is bad, consider that the survey also found 71% of consumers say they’re unlikely to buy if a company loses their trust. David Horsager, the world’s trust authority, sums this up well when he says, “A lack of trust is your biggest expense in business.”
The goal is no trust gap. And how do you do that? Here are six ways:
- Always Keep Your Promise – We start with a simple one. Just do what you say you’re going to do. The fastest way to destroy trust is to not keep a commitment.
- Be Transparent – Be open about your policies, process, delivery times, delays and more. Don’t hide behind fine print. You want your customers to know and understand how you operate. The more they know, the more trust they will have in you.
- Be Easy to Connect With – Do you make it easy for your customers to connect with you? For example, I’m always impressed with Zappos.com. It is an online retailer that wants you to buy from its website. However, its phone number is posted on every page of the website, just in case the customer needs help or has questions. Make it easy for customers to connect with you.
- Protect Your Customer’s Information – Data protection has been a hot topic for several years. Beyond data breaches, which companies must do their best to avoid, there is also data abuse. If customers trust you with their information, don’t abuse that trust by misusing it.
- Be Consistent – When customers use the word always before they describe something positive about their experience, such as, “They are always helpful,” you know you’re delivering a consistent and predictable experience that increases trust and gets customers to come back.
- Provide Excellent Customer Service – This is the perfect one to end on. Raise the trust level with something you should already be doing. Our customer experience research found that 84% of customers trust a company or brand more if it provides excellent customer service. When customers like the experience you provide, they trust you more.
BONUS: In my effort to always give my clients more than they expect, here’s a bonus. Deloitte surveyed 260 C-suite executives about trust. While 61% claim they want to improve trust with customers, only 19% have members in the C-suite dedicated to the effort. So, here’s your bonus tip: Consider adding a Chief Customer Officer, or similar position, to your organization.