How Trust is Subtly Undermined

Have you ever thought about what a big role the WHO plays in marketing?  You’ve experienced this yourself where based on WHO the advertisement is from you were either turned off or receptive to it.  The reaction that I’m speaking of here is not based on the content of the ad itself, but rather WHO the ad is from.  The bottom line is that we trust some businesses and not others.  Let’s take a look at one subtle way that trust is undermined.  Awareness of this one key area can provide you with the opportunity to strengthen the trustworthiness of your business.

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Inconsistent experiences and unpredictable behavior can really undermine the trust that an organization has gone to great lengths to develop.

Why Trust Matters

When I was a boy I remember my father telling me that trust takes time to build but just a moment to destroy.  Trust is much different than the benefit of a doubt.  We may give someone the benefit of the doubt, but real trust is something that is earned over time.  Trust is a precious asset that businesses, like people, must develop.

Real trust is what leads one person to give another a referral.  People tend to be careful and choosy when it comes to giving referrals because they are putting their trust and credibility on the line in connection with their recommendation.  This means that in order to generate referrals, businesses have to really develop a strong bond of trust with the clientele that they serve.

While building trust is something that takes time, and should be a very valuable asset – it is something which can also be subtly undermined if the business owner is not careful.

Unpredictable Behavior – The Subtle Trust Killer

The essence of trust is to know what you can expect from someone else.  It is this knowing what to expect that enables us to look forward to dealing with them.  When it comes to a restaurant it means that you know the quality of food and service that they provide and it is something that you expect – not just some times – but every time.

Recently I was in Atlanta for a conference and ate at the same Mexican restaurant a couple of times.  The first time I was there, the entre was great but the side dish of Spanish rice was pretty awful – it tasted like instant rice and the seasoning was lacking.  No problem – I just didn’t eat the Spanish rice – I enjoyed everything else, so it wasn’t really a big deal.  The next time I was there I got a different entre which was also good and it too came with a side of Spanish rice.  Unlike the rice from the previous evening – the Spanish rice was awesome.  The problem for the restaurant is that serving up such inconsistency is bad for business because it undermines trust.  The truth is that after those experiences, I’m really not sure what to expect if I were to return to that establishment and because of that I certainly couldn’t recommend them.

Inconsistent experiences and unpredictable behavior can really undermine the trust that an organization has gone to great lengths to develop.

Consistency = The Key To Building Trust

Consistency is a cornerstone of trust.  When you trust a person, it means that you know them well enough to know how they will act in certain situations and what you can expect from them.  When you trust a business, it means that you believe that they will take good care of you and that there will be a consistency in your experience with them over time.  Demonstrating consistency, even in the small things and in subtle ways, is something that businesses can do to really build trust and credibility with their clientele.

  • Linda Patterson January 20, 2015, 12:55 am

    I enjoyed this. I am taking a college customer service class online and you make good points.

  • Linda Patterson January 20, 2015, 12:56 am

    Thanks, this is very helpful.

    • Charles Ogwyn January 26, 2015, 3:50 pm

      Glad it was helpful Linda

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