Trust only takes a moment to destroy. Just a few sentences, a broken promise, a lack of empathy, and it is gone.
In most scenarios of customer dissatisfaction, there may well be significant (and often justifiable) operational barriers that either contribute to the creation of the problem or prevent us from fixing it.
But in most instances, that is not where the breakdown happened. It happened because a human being decided to not care. Not to care and not express anything that felt like caring (victim of bureaucracy or not).
This is a problem because, while people like to have their problems fixed, what they most want is to be seen and to be cared about. Customers will put up with imperfect, but one thing they would like in return is for you to care.
Marketers keep making big promises, and organisations struggle to keep those promises. Sooner or later, it leads to a situation where the broken promise arrives on the customer’s lap.
In that moment, what the customer wants most is someone to care.
Correlation analysis from our latest adviser research shows a strong positive relationship between how far providers are perceived to care about advisers’ businesses and adviser propensity to do business. But across the industry advisers rate the industry around 6/10 on this measure.
This is a hugely missed opportunity – even more so when we consider that almost as good as an organisation primed to care at every touchpoint is an organisation that consistently acts like it cares.
It is a mistake to believe you actually have to care the way the customer cares, and that anything less means you should not even try. There are hundreds of examples where professionals do emotional labour all the time. They present the best version of their professional self they are capable of.
When Dame Judy Dench shows up on stage, the audience would like to believe that she is as engaged and excited as she was on opening night. And she might be. Or not. What matters is that we cannot tell.
If you care, that is great. If you do not, at least right now, well, it is your job. That is the hard part.
Acting as if you do, and doing it with effort and consistency, is what your customers need from you.
Phil Wickenden is managing director of Cicero Research