The Precarious Issue of Consumer Trust

Building trust to form long-lasting relationships with customers remains a challenge for organisations, especially those within the embattled financial services sector.

Paul Allen, Organisational Design and Change Management Lead at Comotion, said at last month's Customer Experience Transformation: Insurance conference in London that the shift to digital means that customers have more power than ever; there is more transparency and brand affiliation. However, this also provides a massive challenge for organisations as among the rising expectations the issue of trust comes up time and time again.

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Richard Beaven, Former Operations Director of the Insurance Division at Lloyds Banking Group, tackled this issue in his keynote presentation: The New Age of Customer Experience for the Insurance Sector - Improving Customer Perception and Building Trust While Improving Profitability.

He opened by saying: "We are no longer trusted to put the customer at the heart of thinking." A bold statement, but one which received many nods of agreement from the audience members as he explained, "the harsh truth is, customers are moving faster than we are".

"Trust remains one of the most important pillars of our [insurance] business. We're selling a promise. And need to be trusted to do what it says on the tin," Beaven continued.

So what is the magical key to unlocking trust and loyalty within financial services? According to Beaven it is reducing customer effort. If a customer has a claim and they call up they want to get it sorted there and then. So giving the guys on the front line the capability to resolve such issues over the various contact points will add incredible value.

He explained that in his former role at Lloyds banking Group on average it would take an astonishing 38 days for a health claim to be paid. On one occasions the customer even passed away before the claim had been processed.

Eliminating this delay and decreasing effort will result in happier customers and an empowered front line team, he said. Which, of course, ultimately will lead to a more loyal customer base and a trusting relationship.

Beaven also added than new technology is incredibly valuable to achieve this. Some might argue that technology in customer experience is its greatest threat, but he said that it is the greatest challenge.

"Damage to trust is something we've brought onto ourselves and we need to change it," Beaven continued.

"I believe this is the new age of customer in insurance. We have a lot to do, but if people are willing to change this is an exciting time for us."