Can worsening trust in financial sector be fixed?

31st May 2019

The bad news is that trust in business fell to a record low of 43% last year.

The worse news if you work in finance is that the trust issues are no better. Over 50% of consumers say that their trust in financial services has decreased rather than increased over the past few years.

Over a decade after the financial crisis, the blow delivered to financial brands has still not been recovered from, leaving the question of what to do now?

A celebrity smile is not enough anymore

Building trust is not as easy as buying a big-budget TV spot; it’s not even the result of a savvy social media campaign. Our recent research showed that consumers find television (72%), social media (77%) and digital display advertising (72%) to be only ‘moderately important’ when researching financial services brands and forming their first opinions.

So, brands can’t rely on traditional advertising anymore, and digital platforms have also taken a blow - 72% of consumers say their trust in digital platforms has dropped in recent years. It paints a bleak picture as both brands and the platforms they engage with consumers on are facing a trust crisis.

The question is then what do consumers trust?

They trust each other.

Trusting the voices of others

Overall, more than half of the consumers in our survey believe ratings are very important or important for choosing a range of financial products. Reviews are not a ‘nice to have’ addition to a brand’s marketing strategy, they are becoming an essential foundation.

The value of reviews does not just come from the content. Having thousands of 5 stars is always a good thing, but that’s not the way they are creating trust between consumers and financial brands. In being open and transparent, brands are showing that they are not only listening to customer feedback but using it to improve. All of this is being done out in the open, rather than behind closed doors, which lets customers see that their voice is being truly heard.  This willingness to be open and transparent is the trait that will help differentiate financial services brands going forward.

One of the reasons that consumers lost so much trust in the financial services after the crash was not just because they lost money; it was feeling that they were not being listened to. Forward-thinking financial brands are not only displaying their customer reviews, but they are using them to engage with their concerns and improve as a business.

You can’t buy trust, you just need to build it back one voice at a time.
If you would like to access the full research discussed, please head here.

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