November 2020 – Trust Building and the Impact on the Customer Journey

At this month’s event, Kristyn Wilson from Upright presented to a packed (virtual) house on the topic of “trust.” It may sound like a squishy topic, but there has been a lot of research into the impact of trust on brands, as well as the shifting nature of trust as the customer journey has shifted online over the past two decades.

As Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, put it:

“When you trust, everything is simple. If you don’t trust, things get complicated.”

Or, if you’re more into hard numbers, Accenture conducted a study of 25,000 consumers and estimated that a lack of trust costs U.S. brands $756 billion per year! That’s because consumers switch brands or providers due to lack of trust.

Viewed through the ever-evolving and oft-reshaped “marketing funnel” lens, trust increases efficiency and throughput at each stage of the customer journey:

But, what are the actual components of “trustworthiness?” Kristyn referenced Rachel Botsman and noted that there are four distinct traits involved (these apply to brands and to individuals!):

  • Competence is about how capable the brand (or person) is when it comes to doing something, including delivering a good or a service
  • Reliability is about whether that expertise can be consistently delivered and depended upon
  • Integrity is all about honesty and fairness
  • Benevolence is all about goodwill

Just as the traits of trust are not unidimensional, the tactics for building and maintaining trust are not, either, and they can’t be ramped up and “done” overnight. Kristyn described the “Upright Indicator” as a five-component tool for measuring a brand’s (and its competitors) trustworthiness:

It was an informative and engaging session that included a great discussion about the role of trust in a crisis (tip: it helps to have established trustworthiness before the crisis, and then it helps to have transparency and integrity during the crisis!), how to build trust as a startup (Get out there and engage! Build up that competence!), and even a discussion of Jeni’s Ice Cream!

This was our last event of 2020, but we expect to be back (virtually) in 2021!