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Three opinions – Trust, what is its role in your customer relations?

18th July 2019
Where does trust fit into your customer relations? We asked the question to three specialists for whom it is the focus of their company. To complete their accounts, we also asked them to identify the consequences of trust. What follows are some of the most common answers. Perhaps they will help guide you along the all-too human road that leads from uncertainty to trust…


Trust is liberating. When we have trust, we stop asking questions, we are free from doubt. We can make a decision and act. On the other hand, someone who still lacks trust will ask questions, double check things… They make a lot of effort, imagine outcomes and try to protect themselves against risk. Once established, trust dispels all this friction between customer and brand. It pacifies the relationship. The feeling of uncertainty is replaced with one of assurance and internal comfort. We can move forward… To trigger this positive feeling, this commitment, the brand needs to recognise its customer’s emotions, be familiar with their background and their particular expectations. For each point of contact, do not create doubt and eliminate any existing doubt. Always provide reassurance.

Clarity. When we distrust someone, we say that they are unclear… Specifically, we cannot read their intentions. Therefore, in a complex world that is in constant flux, clarity is a competitive advantage to be acquired. And it can be acquired throughout the customer journey. You have nothing to hide; show it. If you are unsure about a product or strategy, or are having difficulty, tell them. The second advantage of clarity is that it reduces the customer’s cognitive load. With greater peace of mind, they will hesitate less and make better decisions. Their commitment and levels of satisfaction will grow. How can we improve clarity?(1) Provide an explicit rulebook, simplify and reduce, break down difficulty and calibrate it according to the person. Also, in order to maintain attention and motivation, consider providing them with reference points and feedback and create a feeling of success at each stage. Illuminate the journey.

Authenticity. Someone who says one thing but does another is considered a hypocrite, which destroys trust. In order to not ruin its reputation, a brand must embody what it states and not simply trumpet its altruistic values or show off its good intentions. All engagements require immediate and clear proof for the consumer. What is a person who is genuine, reliable and worthy of trust? It is a person who does not hide their mistakes. Explain the mistakes made. Apologise. Offer to make up for them. Check that the relationship of trust is restored.


“What trust creates is a common future for the brand and its customer.”

Olivier Carrot, Director of the Telecoms Media High Tech Business Unit at Webhelp



Respect. “I’m sorry you didn’t see or understand the small print at the bottom of page 25”. Why is this response always received so badly? Because it creates a feeling of having been misled, played for a fool, or humiliated. This lack of respect will generate resentment and frustration. In practice, respect should be evident throughout the entirety of the customer’s journey; respect for any commitments and promises, respect for deadlines, respect for private lives, respect for last-minute changes… Feeling respected nurtures trust, in other words, the desire to prolong a relationship that entails a measure of vulnerability.

Emotional load. “It is a time of instability, worry and anger, which is, to a certain extent, hidden”, summarises philosopher and digital specialist Éric Sadin. It is a point of view shared, on a global level, by Pankaj Mishra in his essay The Age of Anger (Zulma publishing). According to him, this frustration is a result of the “unkept promises of modernity”. We cannot ignore this citizen-consumer anger; it is the emotional backdrop. What measures can we take to avoid triggering this anger? How can we recognise it and manage it when it erupts and spreads?

Digital well-being. Digital pressure is constant, insistent and intrusive. How can we capture the consumer’s attention without upsetting their digital well-being? By reducing the cognitive load, which means increasingly simplifying the customer’s experience. Simplification by reducing the workload in customer service and boosting the Customer Effort Score –where action is necessary. This also implies accepting another limit; that of “digital overload”. On the customer side, it creates a feeling of being imprisoned in a digital tunnel. Being able to provide humans as possible help, via a WebRTC button for example(1), is a simple and effective option for reassurance.

Empathy. “Empathy is the new black”, according to an article published on the Forbes website. Empathy is vital. However, depending on the brand, empathy is either an opportunistic means of capturing the customer or a way of aligning with their best interests. In time, most customers will see the difference. Hence the change in call-centre strategies, for example: training advisers with an approach that is clearly oriented around the person they are talking to; in brief, exercising emotional intelligence with a capacity to “understand the other person’s DNA”, explains Olivier Carrot, Director of the Media and Hi-Tech Business Unit, who has been working for several months on developing a training method. Rather than a simple ability to apply procedures. Of course, in an ideal world, empathy is shown at every point of contact with the customer. Empathy by design?


Patrick Malval, President of Air Caraïbes and Air Caraïbes Atlantique:

“Air Caraïbes(1), a booming company, is an air carrier with presence in Pointe-à-Pitre, Fort-de-France, Cayenne and Orly. We gave Webhelp a simple mission: to help us grow. Our clientele is demanding, loyal and comprised of numerous regular customers. In order to satisfy them, I committed to trusting our customers and the Webhelp advisers. Being on the Air Caraïbes payroll, they should be able to make decisions completely autonomously when they have the customer on the telephone, even in the case of litigation. Trust is at the heart of the trade of air carrying, and that should be reflected in everything we do!”



Aurore Gaspar, Deputy General Manager of Boursorama Banque:

In Twenty years, Boursorama Banque has become the leading online bank in France. His promise is clear: if you are independent, we offer you the cheapest bank with the simplest journeys. Advisors are an essential element of reinsurance: behind the digital bank, there are men and women. Customers’ requests are haerd, and solutions or compensation are proposed. We have chosen informed consent: to inform our clients well and let them choose. At first, our customers test us and then, over time, we see that trust grows: use increases and they subscribe to our complementary services.



Cyril Chiche, Co-founder and CEO of Lydia:

Our Lydia application allows payments and money transfers to be made between individuals. Our work encompasses technology and customer experience. I like to say that the core of our business is not money but trust, and for an implacable reason; when money is at stake, every error will be interpreted as maliciousness or unforgivable negligence. Our strategy has been profitable: it is our customers who “do a Lydia” on their friends and families’ smartphones. Proof that our application is useful, reliable and deserves to be recommended to trusted people. This shared success is based on technology, ultra-reliable devices and extreme responsiveness in our customer relations”.


(1) Selon Nadia Medjad, médecin et coach, fondatrice de Neuro-Echology Consulting

(2) Expérience client – Les 5 atouts majeurs du WebRTC

(3) Growth – How Air Caraïbes has set a course towards trust?

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Article by: Marion Windels

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