Customers are very perceptive and intuitive. They discern immediately, consciously or subconsciously, whether the actions of a company are manipulative or truly for the good of the people. Getting a read on how a company is being perceived by the customer is the new barometer in creating today’s customer experience. There are many factors that need to be considered in order to do this effectively. The Edelman Trust Architecture model provides a solid foundation for transforming companies into Natural© functioning organizations that deliver consistent emotionally engaging customer experiences.
Wrestling with how to improve, manage, or maintain customer experience operations is a journey that never ends. In The DNA of Customer Experience, I provided research that shows that trust is one of the key emotions that can destroy a company’s relationship with a customer or create a customer who will recommend or even advocate for your services and products. What trust is perceived to be and how trust is created between the company and the customer has become an enormous challenge today. The Edelman Trust Architecture outlines three key areas which companies need to look at to improve their trust scores: transparency, engagement and profit with purpose.Transparency, as described by David Armano is defined as a company being more ethical in how it conducts business, not being manipulative, and trusting its employees to be ambassadors who won’t give away the company secrets. Engagement means a company is constantly communicating with the public and its stakeholders in a two-way dialogue that uses social networking media, websites, and other public forums. Active listening and appropriate, positive, and timely responses to feedback from those conversations is a way that trust is demonstrated and maintained by the company. The challenge in today’s environment is being flexible enough to respond to the constantly changing standards of what the customer perceives they want or need to trust. The ways a company employs engagement and transparency methods demonstrate and help maintain trust, but they can’t, by themselves, earn trust with the customer. Profit with a purpose means giving back to the cultures and communities that support the company in some way, shape, or form. These actions provide an opportunity to prove that the company commitment to honesty, active listening, and effective response-ability is genuine.