One of the most important aspects of customer experience is trust. Customers simply don’t want to do business with a company they can’t trust.
Insurance is an industry rooted in building trusting relationships. It started 5,000 years ago when Chinese merchants split their goods across multiple shared ships. If one ship went down, no single merchant would lose all of their goods. This wasn’t a formal program, but was instead based on a relationship of trust. The merchants knew they could trust each other because they all had the same goal to preserve their goods and limit their risks.
These days, insurance and other industries, like banking and healthcare, are still based on trust. It follows the if/then model—if a customer gives a company every month, then they trust that if something goes wrong down the road, that company will take care of them.
For industries that are built on the foundation of trust, there isn’t a lot of trust happening these days. In fact, consumer trust in many of these industries is at an all-time low. It’s not due to one single event, but rather to slowly chipping away at the relationship. Every time a company makes a customer repeat themselves, wait on hold for a long time, fill out mountains of paperwork or do any other frustrating task, that customer loses a little bit of trust in the company. And without trust, there isn’t a relationship with the customer.
Many companies are focused on getting as much work done as possible. There has been a big push lately towards operational efficiencies and finding ways to streamline processes. It sounds great until you realize that operational efficiency is the exact opposite of a quality customer experience. By trying to get through as many customers as you can and increasing the volume, you sacrifice personalized customer support. Instead of feeling like an actual human who can trust a company to solve their problems and meet their needs, a customer feels like just a number being pushed down the assembly line of customer care.
This is especially important for big companies that are stuck in their old ways of doing things. New startups are popping up in all industries that are making a splash because of their focus on customer experience and their willingness to try something new. These companies see and address customer pain points, which helps build a trusting relationship.
Trust is the cornerstone to all customer experiences. It can’t be built in a day, but it can be destroyed quickly. Focusing on each customer individually instead of rushing to get things done can help create a long-term relationship of trust.
Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker and author of “More Is More.” Sign up for her weekly newsletter here.