In our blog on closing the gap between uptake and usage of financial products, we explained that, in the financial sector, trust can be a fundamental driver of usage. But how can financial service providers create trust and which elements of design or aspects of service are most likely to contribute to trust? 

Our research team has been exploring the building blocks of trust and have blogged about some of these insights. However, if you are faced with a similar question, some of these recommendations from external sources should prove helpful in the meantime: 

Engineer trust through product design: This toolkit is a good starting point for start-ups that intend to offer digital financial services. It contains a framework and examples of what other organisations have done to build trust. 

It is with good reason that padlocks are used to emphasise a secure feature of a digital financial service – partly as an attempt to mimic the appearance of steadfastness and security that is portrayed through the architecture and interior design of brick-and-mortar banks. How will this sense of security and trustworthiness be conveyed as banks increasingly trial the use of chatbots? 

Empower agents to sensitively address mistrust and fear: In addition to some of the more widespread concerns about using digital financial services, research from India revealed that some people believe that women cannot be trusted with mobile phones and the internet. As a result, “Some women had internalised this distrust of internet access and mobile phone usage and therefore ‘self-limited’ the extent to which they used it.” Agents have often proven to be significant allies (of both the provider and the customer), and consumers often rely on them for assistance in not only completing transactions but also financial advice. Although the Currency of Trust report focuses on India, some of the insights it contains are applicable in different contexts.  

Build rapport by neither bombarding nor ignoring your customers: It is not often that interrogation techniques are used as a cautionary example to financial service providers. Read this blog post from Ekow Duker to see why he thinks the lessons learnt from “successful” interrogations are relevant for organisations looking to build trust. 

Solve your customers’ pain points: Although the Edelman Trust Barometer surveydoesn’t poll many citizens of African countries, for the 2017 survey they examined some of the behaviour changes required to bridge the trust gap. Understanding the problems that customers experience and finding solutions to them was the number one tip they proposed. 

Examine your organisational culture: The findings from EY’s 2016 Global Consumer Banking Survey indicate that traditional banks no longer have the advantage when it comes to trust. In fact, “non-traditional providers have achieved parity on the foundational dimensions of trust and moved ahead on relationship-driven and differentiating dimensions of trust that matter most”. EY recommends six actions that banks should take. The first of these is ensuring that a customer-centric culture permeates the organisation – from senior leadership to every other level. (If you are interested in the most recent survey of global banking executives, EY’s 2017 survey reporthighlights that risk and regulation are the chief concerns of executives in the sector.)  

Consider the external environment: Not all the elements relating to trust are within your control. If you are considering the delivery of digital financial services in a new market, it would be worth considering how that country is rated for the trustworthiness of the digital environment, as this could influence your strategic approach. A report on how competitiveness and trust in digital economies vary across the world explains that “the persistence of friction – that is, hindrances to the seamless and lag-free completion of transactions or interactions online – can result in an erosion of trust.”

We will share external content on a regular basis. Please let know what you would find useful (specific topics or types of content) in your role in the financial sector. 

Please note that sharing links to publications that are not authored by i2i does not constitute official endorsement of the content contained in those links.