For those of you who think your job is done when you have satisfied your customer, the 2019 Trusted Automotive Brand Study (TABS) from AMCI has news for you. According to the Forbes article Tesla Motors Tumbles In Key Trust Measure by Jack R. Nerad, the TBS Study again affirmed that trust accounts for more than 50% of a consumer’s decision to repurchase or recommend an automotive brand or its dealers.
Satisfying people is just not enough. Based on the hypothesis that emotions beyond satisfaction are the real drivers of customer loyalty and brand enthusiasm, AMCI identified trust as a facet of the buyer-seller relationship worthy of study. And the study revealed that developing and maintaining customer trust is a very, very powerful thing.
Ian Beavis, AMCI Global’s chief strategy officer sees trust as being of a “higher order” than satisfaction, a metric that includes satisfaction but goes far beyond it. Because customer satisfaction has been scrutinized for decades now, most brands are fairly good at executing on it, but the AMCI strategist now believes satisfaction is a cost of entry.
One of the major factors in Tesla’s falling trust is due to their pricing changes. Tesla had thousands of customers put down deposits on the Model 3 based on Elon Musk’s promise of buying a Tesla for only $35,000. That price quickly turned into a myth, as the only models available were packed with extras, bumping the actual price up to the mid-fifty thousand dollar range. Misleading customers about price is a very efficient way to destroy trust!
Ian Beavis has a great analogy that helps one understand the difference between satisfaction and trust. Satisfaction is the absence of illness, but it doesn’t mean a person is fit or healthy,” he said. “Another analogy I’d use is you don’t get a serious relationship because you’re satisfied with dating someone. It takes love and trust to build longterm relationships.”
Your entire customer experience chain from pre-sale to sale to post-sale support and service contributes to building trust in a brand. Making a sale is necessary, but not sufficient to build a trusted brand.