Banks Think Trust Is Essential But Vague

As custodians and lenders of money, banks cannot exist without their customers’ trust. But why do so few banks around the world actually track and measure it? Why are banks’ actions and initiatives related to trust so indirect, ad hoc, and off the cuff? It is time to realize that customers have a concrete view on trust. This includes reasons why they would trust or distrust a bank, leading to financial and reputational outcomes. In this initial report, we examined how banks themselves look at trust and, even more importantly, what they actually do about it.

Generally, banks lack a clear understanding about what drives customers’ willingness to trust them and, as a result, what they need to do to earn customers’ trust. Many banks believe that trust comes from being compliant with regulations, careful with risk, transparent in their reporting, and well capitalized (i.e., safe). But trust is both rational and visceral, and it’s customers’ perceptions and experience that defines their trust attitudes.

Commitment To Customers’ Trust Needs Rigor And Discipline

The main reason behind banks’ poor understanding of trust, and how to earn it, is the lack of rigor and discipline needed for a coordinated, enterprisewide commitment. Most don’t take a data-driven approach and gather the right data regularly to understand trust from customers’ point of view. Measurement is also lacking, with few committing to measuring and reporting trust like other common customer-related KPIs such as CSAT, Net Promoter Score℠ (NPS), or Forrester’s own Customer Experience Index (CX Index™). Why should trust remain vague? Why shouldn’t customer trust be treated like a standard KPI? For an industry that is so “big on trust,” this is an obvious oversight.

Lasting Trust Shouldn’t Be Based On Random Acts

To paint a fair picture and provide real-life examples of how some banks are, though indirectly, doing some things related to trust, we’ve also interviewed a few notable brands. Their actions demonstrate empathy and goodwill but are somewhat ad hoc, one-off, and based on intuition. Though most are genuine in their desire to earn their customers’ trust, their approach is certainly insufficient due to a common lack of deliberate strategies purposefully built around trust.

Hoping to aid the banking professionals who want to take more deliberate and strategic action toward building customer trust, in this report, we provide a set of guiding principles arising from our multiyear, multicountry customer trust research. You can find out more directly from the report.