Rise of the Chief Trust Officer

Rise of the Chief Trust Officer

GUEST POST from Shep Hyken

Do your customers trust you?

Are you sure?

According to PwC’s 2022 Consumer Intelligence Series Survey on Trust, 87% of executives think customers highly trust their companies, but only about 30% of customers do. That’s a 57% gap!

The PwC survey also found 71% of consumers say they’re unlikely to buy if a company loses their trust, and 71% of employees say they’re likely to leave if they lose trust. The lack of trust can result in huge problems.

Deloitte reports that of more than 260 C-suite executives surveyed, 61% claimed their organizations would work to improve trust with customers and employees. However, just 19% have a leader in the C-suite to oversee the effort, and less than 14% have a way to track trust. Ashley Reichheld, principal and trust leader at Deloitte Consulting LLP, says, “Building trust is among the most powerful ways brands can earn loyalty, drive differentiation and create competitive advantage.”

According to David Horsager, global authority on trust, “A lack of trust is your biggest expense in business.” His research has found that when a leader is untrusted, both employee and customer satisfaction decreases. Conversely, if a brand is trusted, revenue and employee retention increase.

The goal is to narrow the trust gap. Ideally, you want to eliminate the gap altogether. Here are ten ways to make that happen:

  1. Be Transparent – Being open and honest about your policies, delivery times, processes and more builds trust and confidence with your customers. You want them to know you and how you operate.
  2. Do What You Say You Will Do – Deliver on whatever you promise. There are many ways to lose a customer’s trust, but the fastest may be to break a promise. In short, a broken promise is a lie.
  3. Provide Excellent Customer Service – Our customer experience research found that 84% of consumers trust a company or brand more if it provides an excellent customer service experience.
  4. Protect Your Customer’s Privacy – Data protection is a hot topic. With all the data breaches, customers need to know you make a great effort to protect any information they share with you.
  5. Don’t Abuse Your Customer’s Data – This goes right along with protecting your customer’s privacy. If they are willing to give you information about themselves, even if it is just payment information and an email address, don’t abuse it by spamming the customer or selling the information to others.
  6. Be Reliable – A customer expects that what they buy from a company does what it is supposed to do. Products must be reliable and dependable. In addition, they also expect the company to stand behind what it sells with the right level of customer service.
  7. Fast Response – Customers have different tolerances for how long they will wait on hold, wait for a return phone call, an email response, etc. When it comes to customer service, fast means meeting a customer’s expectations.
  8. Be Accessible – Start with being easy to reach. Easy-to-find contact information on a website is important. Hours of operation, at least for customer service, must also meet your customer’s needs and expectations.
  9. Act on Customer Feedback – It’s one thing to gather feedback. It’s another to act on it. And once you act on the feedback, let the customers know they were heard. Always thank customers for their feedback, and follow up if it is appropriate to do so.

Create a Chief Trust Officer Role (or Something Similar) – This goes back to the finding from Deloitte at the beginning of this article. Just 19% of companies have a leader in the C-suite to oversee the effort of creating trust with customers.

Now that we understand more about the importance of trust, we might say those companies with a dedicated “trust officer” are a step ahead, taking advantage of a somewhat overlooked aspect of customer service. Seems like a great opportunity for any company to step up and focus on building trust—and the business that is sure to follow.

This article was originally published on Forbes.com.

Image Credit: Pixabay

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