If you’ve read any of my recent blog posts, you know that I have been pushing for the consideration of “trust” within evaluations of the customer experience. Today I read an article in the Journal of Service Science and Management (March 2013) called “The Mediating Role of Customer Trust on Customer Loyalty”.
This article confirms five hypotheses, one of which is “The greater the customer’s trust is in a firm, the greater is his loyalty toward the firm.”
As with many hypotheses, once it has been proved, it seems the takeaway is “of course”. While it makes sense that the stronger the customer's trust in the firm, the stronger the loyalty, we can still ask ourselves, how can we take action? What can we be doing to enhance trust? Obviously, following through on commitments is paramount, but there are other more subtle contributors. For example, this article highlights that marketing plays a key role in positively influencing customers’ perceptions and as a result developing trust. “So, the choice of elements for positioning and communication strategies must reflect the reality and ability of the organization to keep the promises of quality and benefit made to its customers in order to bridge the gap between action and rhetoric.”
I think this is great advice – and while intuitive, it may not always be top of mind. Relationship marketing is extremely important. If there is a gap between action and rhetoric, the result will be a contradictory image of the company which can develop a loss of trust. It is important for everyone in your organization to close the gap between corporate image/marketing and reality. Monitoring “trust” within the customer experience can be beneficial, as well as monitoring reasons for any declines in trust.