Retail TouchPoints: Communication Drives More Than 20 Percent of Customer Trust
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Retail TouchPoints’ website.
According to a study commissioned by Pitney Bowes Business Insight, customer communication drives more than 20 percent of a customer’s trust in a company. The study also concluded that trust is created by a company’s policies, practices, and the customer’s previous experience.
The findings were determined by ECSP Europe based on an online survey of 1,000 U.K. consumers and 1,000 U.S. consumers.
In the study, researchers found that trust is based on evaluation of three complementary dimensions – competence or credibility; integrity or honesty; and empathy or benevolence. The second and third of these could be interpreted as being more ’emotional trust’ and the first one more ‘rational trust’.
The most important influence factor of emotional trust is rational trust (56 percent). Other prominent factors that create a strong emotional relationship with customers include: front line employees (16 percent), management policies (14 percent), marketing communications (nine percent), and self-service technologies (five percent).
The division of factors that create rational trust, however, were spread more evenly. Trust in front line employees was named the most-considered factor, comprising 21 percent of a consumer’s trust level. Management policies (19 percent), marketing communications (18 percent), and past experience (18 percent), also were key factors in determining overall reliability in a company.
Researchers stated in the study that the main benefit of trust is customer loyalty, which in turns leads to a longer-term relationship, greater share of wallet, and higher advocacy of word-of-mouth.
“Results from our consumer survey show that emotional and rational trust drive between 22 percent and 44 percent of customer loyalty,” the researchers wrote in the study. “The other main factor influencing loyalty is customers’ satisfaction with their previous experience with the service provider. This is influenced by the customers’ own experience of service delivery and value, by what happens when things go wrong and by brand reputation, word of mouth and the experience of others.”
Researchers also noted that consumers currently have low-levels of trust in business. The Readers Digest European Trusted Brands 2010 study found that only 32 percent of consumers trust international companies and 13 percent trust advertising as opposed to 48 percent trusting their friends, work colleagues or neighbors.
The consumers surveyed recommended several ways for companies to strengthen trust-building activities, such as improving communications (quality and clarity), increasing transparency and providing advance information for better deals and problem solving. In addition, consumers claimed that they look for companies that provide high-quality customer care, ensure a sense of being ‘looked after’, and demonstrate a high level of competency and conduct from employees.
- Communication Drives More Than 20 percent Of Customer Trust – Retail TouchPoints
- Customer Communications Drives More than 20 Percent of Overall Consumer Trust According to Pitney Bowes Business Insight Survey – Pitney Bowes Business Insight
- The Role of Trust in Consumer Relationships Study – Pitney Bowes Business Insight
Discussion Questions: What factors most influence customer “trust” levels for retailers and brands? How can organizations build or rebuild customer trust in the current low-trust climate?