When companies are on the path to improving customer trust, they normally find themselves in one of two modes. The first is trying to retain the trust customers already have for the brand, and the second is hoping to recover trust that has been lost for whatever reason.

Aarron Spinley, researcher and growth strategist at SAP, used the example of Australia’s banking sector as an industry that is in the recovery mode for trust.

At an SAP event hosted by Which-50, Spinley said if brands are in this recovery mode, it is a distinct challenge — and there are some fundamental rules that apply.

“Trust is created and sustained over the long term. It’s the stuff of everyday life. It’s the thing that happens all the time. It’s the reliability. It’s meeting the brand promise, without failure, every single day.

“For the banks here in Australia in the aftermath of the Royal Commission, they won’t solve that trust deficit in a number of months.

“They’ll need to send strong signals to the market around their attentions in this area, and most of them have done that. But then it’s about executing it — and it’ll be over the long haul,” he explained.

Spinley said the banks like any other brand will recover if they put their customers first and meet their expectations every day.

“It’s not just an operational imperative, but truly a cultural one.”

The problem with technology

Technology has been a part of the trust problem consumers have with brands. Spinley attributed this breakdown to what he called “digital darwinism”.

He said, “technology and society have evolved faster than businesses can adapt. But technology is also part of the solution.

“We can look more holistically and meaningfully around how we manage things like identity, and how we can really become far more personal in the lives of our customers, because of the technology enablement that’s there.”

In that sense, technology is both the bad and the good, and it’s really about how to apply the right technologies within the right setting, Spinley explained.

“That context of absolute commitment to meeting customers’ expectations and monitoring where those expectations go — so you don’t end up back in another collapse of trust because there’s a gap between where you think you should be and where your customers think you should be.

“But as long as that monitoring and understanding is constant, and there is relentless commitment to meeting those base expectations, you’ll build trust.”

About this author

Athina Mallis is the editor of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit of which SAP CX is a corporate member. Members provide their insights and expertise for the benefit of the Which-50 community. Membership fees apply.

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