To Ensure that Your Customers Trust You, You Should Trust Your Data

You don’t need an MBA to know that customer trust is key for a successful business. While there’s no shortage of advice out there about how to build customer trust, here’s one consideration you might overlook: The importance of data quality as the foundation of trust.

Why Customer Trust Matters

Before discussing how data quality reinforces customer trust, let’s consider exactly why customer trust is so important.

Probably the most obvious reason is that if customers don’t trust you, you risk losing them as customers. That you already know.

Download eBook: Getting Closer to Your Customer in a Big Data World

But consider also the following additional ways in which customer trust is important:

  • Customers who do trust you will buy more. You’ll increase your sales volume without having to invest in new leads.
  • Customers who trust you will tell others and help improve your brand.
  • A lack of customer trust can severely undermine your reputation – especially in an age when leaving public reviews of a company on the Internet is very easy to do. 90 percent of customers say that their purchasing decisions are influenced by online reviews.
  • A strong trust relationship with customers can help you weather difficult times – such as when you have a service disruption or need to recall a product. Customers who trust you will be more likely to forgive an error on your part without taking their business elsewhere.
  • Trusting customers are easier for your employees to serve. That saves time and effort internally for your business.

Data Quality and Customer Trust

OK. So we know customer trust is really important. But how can you maximize it?

One important part of the answer is to make sure that the data you collect and analyze is as accurate as possible.

After all, data is at the root of your customer engagements. (For more on this, check out Syncsort ‘s eBook, “Getting Closer to Your Customers In a Big Data World.“) Data is the foundation that helps you understand who your customers are, what they want and how their expectations change over time.

If your data is inaccurate, inconsistent or otherwise of low quality, you risk misunderstanding your customers and doing things that undermine their trust in you.

For example, if you fail to deliver a promised email receipt to a customer after a purchase because the email address you have on file for the customer is incorrect, the customer will question your company’s reliability.

Or, if you address a customer as “Mr. Smith” when the customer is actually a Ms., she will wonder how well you actually know her, and how much she should trust your organization.

Data Quality is Essential for Building Customer Trust

A Personal Anecdote

To drive the point home, here’s a personal story.

Once upon a time, I moved to a new apartment. It was in the newly finished basement of a multi-unit building.

When I called to transfer my Internet service from my old address to the new one, the company insisted that my new address did not exist – presumably because its database of known addresses had not been updated to include the new basement apartment where I had moved.

After unsuccessfully trying to convince the company that my new apartment did in fact exist, I ended up canceling my account with the company and finding a different solution. They had lost my trust – and a long-time customer – all because they couldn’t keep their data accurate.

Conclusion

There are lots of books you could read, written by people who are experts in marketing and human psychology, that explain sophisticated strategies for building customer trust.

But don’t overlook the basic but essential factor of data quality. Without quality data, even an army of experienced account managers won’t be able to maintain customers’ trust in your business.

Again, to learn more about the relationship between data and customer trust, download Syncsort’s latest Customer 360 eBook, “Getting Closer to Your Customers in a Big Data World.”

Christopher Tozzi

Authored by Christopher Tozzi

Christopher Tozzi has written about emerging technologies for a decade. His latest book, For Fun and Profit: A History of the Free and Open Source Software Revolution, is forthcoming with MIT Press in July 2017.

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