Customers are over 90% more likely to continue doing business with companies they trust versus those they don’t. When it comes to recommending companies and products they trust, the likelihood is even higher. This is according to numerous research studies across industries.
Given the business gain that comes from both continued business and positive recommendations, it makes good sense for executives to place greater emphasis on steps to build and maintain customer trust.
In our first three parts of this series, we established the foundational requirements in building customer trust:
- Corporate competence which speaks to great-quality products and service
- Corporate character comprising
- Sound ethics (integrity, honesty, fairness)
- and good intentions (proactively looking out for customers’ best interests).
In this, the fourth part in this series on Customer Trust, we reveal the Brilliance Customer Trust Matrix. To set the scene, we establish that in broad terms, customers are most affected by three key business activities: The way a company …
- communicates with stakeholders – especially customers and employees
- designs products, processes, systems and other factors influencing customer experiences
- delivers on its brand promise
The Brilliance Trust Matrix Model
The diagram illustrates the Trust Matrix model. The two bars at the bottom depict the foundational requirements that were discussed in the first three parts of this series. Upon this foundation there are five easy-to-remember disciplines:
- Intend good
- Be great
- Talk straight
- Keep promises
- Listen deep
These disciplines are relevant to each of the three key business activities.
To increase customer trust levels, a company may embark on many initiatives – many more than suggested in this model. However, the model concentrates on just five disciplines that test for character and competence in each key business activity.
To increase customer trust levels, a company may embark on many initiatives – many more than suggested in this model. However, the model advocates that to make a significant difference in building customer trust, it’s best concentrate on the five disciplines that test for character and competence in each key business activity.
You may have noticed that the colours of the columns match the colours of the foundational elements: company character and competence. This underscores that ‘Intend Good’ is a predicated on the company’s character and ‘Be Great’ is dominantly a matter of competence. The remaining three disciplines are a blend of both character and competence.
“To increase customer trust levels, concentrate on the five disciplines that test for character and competence in each key business activity.”
How the model works
If you want to build customer trust, attend to probing questions relating to the five disciplines every time you engage in any of the three key business activities. Each question will speak to your company’s competence or character or both.
For example, you’re busy designing some enhancements to an existing product. Ask yourself:
- How is this product enhancement doing what is best for our customers?
- Did the need for this enhancement stem from feedback that existing or potential customers have given us?
- How are we using what customers have told us to make this enhancement more effective? How can we listen to customers more deeply in this regard?
- How will we ensure that the implicit and explicit promises made by this product will consistently be delivered?
- What testing have we done to be sure that in a variety of unforeseen circumstances, that the product will still do what we say it will do?
- Is the advertising material 100% accurate regarding this product and not misleading in any way?
- How can we make the brochureware, website content and other forms of communication about this product easier for customers to understand? Have we applied Plain Language principles?
- What checks and controls are in place to ensure that every process required for this product has been fully thought through in terms of its impact on the customer, on employees, on systems, on infrastructure, and potentially also on the community and environment?
- Have we clearly specified the quality standards relevant to this product enhancement and how we will measure that they are achieved?
- Have we checked that there is no aspect of this enhancement or any of the above that could potentially lead to poor customer outcomes?
Reading these questions, you’ve probably gathered that they fall under the five disciplines: Talk straight; Keep promises; Listen deep; Be great and Intend good. Working with your colleagues, you’ll no doubt come up with more relevant questions specific to your business.
The objective is to use this matrix framework to stimulate the right questions that will lead to actions that will effectively build customer trust. Use it religiously and the results will speak for themselves.
In the next article we’ll unpack more about the trust-building disciplines. We hope you find it useful in triggering questions that could be voiced more strongly in your company, with the ultimate aim of building greater trust with your customers.