Building Digital Trust

Building relationships is all about trust.

But when your first contact is digital, it’s magnified 10x.

We’re all looking—consciously or not—for clues that tell us whether we can believe what we’re seeing, hearing and watching.

If your Spidey sense tells you something is off, you bail, never to return.

“Tara” seemed like the perfect fit to work on a project I was contemplating. She had exactly the right expertise and a truly compelling website that made her seem like a sassy, bigger-than-life authority. I liked it—and her.

So I bit.

The email I crafted (which took me 30 minutes to cover all the details her site requested) got me an auto-response—she was booked for the next three months and would get back to me then.

Okay…and while it bothered me that she didn’t personally acknowledge my email (really?), it didn’t keep me from responding when she popped up after the promised three months.

On our get-acquainted call, I expected a big personality with some take-no-prisoners ideas. Instead, I got a flat-lined version of her over the top website persona—I found myself wondering if she’d nodded off between her long pauses.

Tara came off as exhausted and barely interested in my project (or me). I ended the call certain something was amiss and determined not to work with her.

What happened?

Her dangled website promise did not materialize.

Not in her auto-response. Not in our first call. And not afterwards when she failed to follow-up as she’d promised (not that it would have made much of a difference at that point).

I just didn’t trust that she would—or could—deliver.

Because her website, her marketing and social media promised me a bold, high-wattage experience.

So how could I trust—especially in that initial phase when she is theoretically on her very-best behavior—that it would get better?

I couldn’t.

And I’ll bet you wouldn’t either.

So how do you become the anti-Tara?

You avoid the disconnects that drive potential clients away.

You invest time and money in making sure your website, your social media and your digital marketing are compelling to your sweet-spot audience, modern and uniquely you.

You make sure your images and copy and “voice” match—100% exquisitely match—your client experience in real life.

Because stunning images or witty copy alone are not enough to deliver the perfect clients to your digital doorstep.

EVERYTHING you do must align with the experience of actually working with you.

Anything less sows the seeds for mistrust.

And that’s no way to start a relationship.

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  • Absolutely right – spot on.

    In our research at Trusted Advisor Associates, we have 70,000 responses to our TQ Trust Quotient questionnaire, based on the four-factor Trust Equation. And one of the findings has to do with the internal consistency between those four factors (the factors are credibility, reliability, intimacy, and low self-orientation)

    The lower the standard deviation between the four scores, the higher the average trust quotient. In other words – exactly to your point – consistency is a virtue above and beyond all the component virtues. If something is “off” in the total package presented, our “spidey-sense” tingles – just as you say.

    Consistency is always important – but when it comes to trust, it’s exponentially so.

  • Very curious to view “Tara’s” website. My general view involving customer service centers around the live voice; that may not translate well per se in a digital age but I prefer a direct email response rather than a form. I accept a form in terms of a confirmation but look for the real deal in a day or to. When I “sell” me and access to me, I find it incongruent to offer anything less.

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