How To Measure Trust

Philip Cleave
January 3, 2023
Image depicting the building blocks of trust

As humans we’re hardwired to connect with and trust others. In fact, without this we would struggle to survive as a species, as we rely on trust in order to work effectively together and get things done.

Trust is important in all areas of our life, from our relationships with our family and friends to our business relationships. The strength of trust that we have with our customers and employees in particular, will have a significant bearing on our business success.

Types of trust

When we talk about trust, we’re essentially talking about its two component parts, which consists of:

Attitudinal trust

Here trust is defined as the attitude we have towards people who we believe to be trustworthy.

It works under the assumption that those whom we trust will be trustworthy, and those who are trustworthy will be trusted.

Behavioural trust

Similarly, when we talk about behavioural trust, we’re referring to a belief that the person who is trusted will do what is expected of them.

Behavioural trust is based on key factors such as an individual being open and honest in their communications, able to demonstrate that they can be relied on, being consistent and sticking to their commitments.

Why trust is important to a business

Trust is crucial to any business, with the strength of trust that customers and employees have towards that organisation, crucial to the quality of relationship it will have with those audiences

Trust among these audiences can be broken down into the following:

Customer trust

Customer trust is a reciprocal behaviour, determined by what they receive from you.

You’ll only gain the deepest level of trust, when you truly understand your customer’s needs, respect them and can offer them the most relevant service. Gaining your customer’s trust is vital, not only in strengthening their loyalty towards you and encouraging them to return, but also in getting them to recommend you to their friends.

Brand trust

Linked closely to customer trust is brand trust.

With brand trust, customers expect you to deliver the value and performance you’ve outlined in the brand promises you have made to them. And the level of customer trust you’ll receive will depend on how well you deliver on these promises. It all comes down to being totally honest, transparent and consistent in what you say and do.

Trust in the workplace

Having the trust of your staff is just as important as customer trust, as employees who trust you are more likely to be loyal, motivated, and willing to put in the effort to deliver a great service for you and your customers.

However, similarly to your customers, there are a number of things you need to do to earn that trust from your employees. This includes nurturing a workplace culture of honesty, psychological safety and mutual respect.

How to measure trust

Having learnt more about the different types of trust every business should be aware of, you’ll be keen to progress and make the improvements you need.

However, you’ll only know what you need to improve if you can measure how your customers and staff are currently feeling and pinpoint what areas you need to work on to improve that trust.

Fortunately, we have some ideas to help you with this:

Measure loyalty levels with the Net Promoter Score® metric

We’ve already said how important loyalty is in terms of gauging how much your customers and staff trust you.

Subsequently, you can gain a better idea of these audiences’ loyalty and trust towards you by surveying them with the Net Promoter Score (NPS) metric for customers and Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) metric for your staff.

This is typically measured by presenting your customers and staff with the following question.

Metric question to use for your customers:

Based on your most recent experience, how likely is it that you would recommend our service, products or our company to a friend or colleague?

Metric question to use for your employees:

Based on your experiences, how likely is it that you would recommend our company to others as a great place to work?

(Both versions of this question ask respondents to rate their experience on a scale of between 0 to 10, where 0 is extremely unlikely to 10, which is extremely likely).

The answers are then sorted into three groups that include:

Your detractors – who would have rated you between 0 and 6

Your passives – covering anyone who rated you with a score of 7 or 8

Your promoters – who would have rated you between 9 and 10

The calculation for both NPS and eNPS version of the metric is then worked out by subtracting your percentage of detractors from your percentage of promoters. Alternatively, for a simpler way to work this out you could choose to use our NPS or eNPS calculator.

The resulting score that you’re left with should sit between –100 and 100. With regards to your score, anything positive is considered good, while scores below zero are a warning sign that you need to do more to improve levels of satisfaction among your customers or your work force depending which audience you’re measuring.

Create a customised survey

Using the NPS or eNPS metric to get a better measure of loyalty levels among your customer base or workforce will certainly give you a better feel for how much these audiences trust you.

However, to get a better idea of how they view you, you need to be asking them a broader range of questions in a customised customer or employee survey.

For customers this should include questions ranging from those that measure your customers’ perception of your business and brand to questions that gauge their customer satisfaction, engagement and experiences of interacting with you.

Similarly with your employees your questions will need to address areas including their satisfaction with their job and your wider business, as well as questions that gauge their levels of motivation and engagement, and experiences with your organisation.

Analyse your data and take action

Having created and distributed your survey and collected your responses, it’s time to analyse your data.

With the right survey tools you should be able to quickly see where your business is succeeding, as well as any common issues your customers or employees are experiencing that you need to address.

One of the most crucial things to remember is that having identified what’s most important to your customers and staff, and created a plan of next step actions to help them with this, is that you need to act on this.

For any stakeholder audience inaction is one of the most serious ways you can damage trust. In fact, any actions, even if they are not quite what your stakeholders expected are better than no action at all. So, whatever you promise to deliver following your survey’s findings, it’s critical to carry them out to the best of your ability.

Keep monitoring and collecting feedback

Nothing ever stands still, so it’s also important to keep monitoring and collecting feedback from your stakeholders with Net Promoter Score and customised surveys at frequent intervals during the year.

Trust is about confidence and is important to both customers and staff. Each of these audiences will need to have ongoing confidence that you continue to be trustworthy and reputable if they’re to carry on buying or working for your company. And tapping into your customers and employee thoughts with regular surveys, will help to ensure you’re always aware of any sentiment changes you need to address to maintain this confidence and trust.

Final thoughts

We hope you enjoyed reading our latest blog piece. Whatever your views about the issue of trust, you should now be better informed about its importance to your business and how you can measure and improve it.

If you can incorporate some of the ideas outlined in this piece, it should help you to stabilise and begin strengthening the levels of trust that your customers and staff have in you. And your business should be more successful as a result.

Generate more confidence and trust in your business

Using surveys to collect and act on customer and employee feedback, is essential to improving the level of trust they have in you. But you’ll get even quicker results if you’re using the right survey tools too.

Find out more

Get started and create your first survey

If you would like more information then please get in touch.