Trust - 1We live in an age in which consumers are bombarded all day and night by a ridiculously expansive array of marketing messages. Far from the “good old days” of advertising mainly in direct mail, newspapers, radio and television, marketing ads now come from every corner of our existence including the Internet, social media, bathroom stalls and even outer space.

With so many marketing messages flying at the average consumer every day, it’s no wonder marketplace trust and peace of mind are increasingly hard to reach. To build deep and lasting relationships with consumers, today’s business world requires an atmosphere of two-way trust.

Consider the following tips and ideas when building consumer trust at your credit union or bank.

  • Make every day a job well done. Instead of fixating so much on trust, just make sure your bank or credit union is doing the best possible job for its consumers every day. When you’re doing good work, trust from those you serve flows naturally. This is especially important with your front-line staff, those who touch consumers every day. You are not just in banking—you are in retail.

  • Admit when you make a mistake. No one is perfect. This includes financial institutions. When the inevitable mistake occurs, respond directly and openly about it. Own up to what happened and over-communicate with the affected consumers about what you are doing to correct it. Sometimes just the empowerment of knowing is what consumers need to help retain a feeling of trust.

  • Convey genuineness in your marketing. Most modern savvy consumers can spot cheesy, over the top advertising in a heartbeat. Ensure all your marketing materials, from the signs out front to your printed materials and Internet presence, work together to enhance your overall bank or credit union brand and trust factor. Don’t market what you are not. Use real people in your marketing.

  • Dialogue with your consumers. Take it a step beyond the outdated suggestion box and really work to become an active listener for your customers or members. People are much more likely to favorably respond to a conversation than something they perceive as a sales pitch. Hear their thoughts (even the complaints) and make sure consumers know you will respond.

Just like the stereotypical snake oil salesman in so many Old West movies and television shows, consumers don’t often buy from people they do not trust. It’s the same in today’s financial services world. Working now to build a critical bridge of trust to your customers or members can help ensure your bank or credit union enjoys the benefits of a mutually trusting relationship for years to come.