We have witnessed record fines for British banks this week, following several weeks of negative headlines. Scandal, after scandal, shock after shock, the British banking system appears to be in something of a mess. Worse still the fines are not even being paid by the bankers who have messed up. No, those fines are being paid by us, the shareholders. Yes, that’s right, the bankers cocked-up, they made a mess of much of the banking sector, requiring a handout from us, the tax payers, in order to keep their businesses alive. Now they have billions of our money, they mess up again, get fined and the fines are taken out of the coffers that we provided. Meanwhile the bankers who made the cock-ups get salary increases and bonuses.
Sound fair to you?
Is it any wonder that you can read headlines like “Can you trust your bank” or “Business bankers: Your clients don’t trust you“. Only this morning, the BBC ran a phone-in on Radio Five Live asking “Do you trust your bank?”
The words “trust” and “bank” are appearing together in lots of negative ways.
The psychology of trust is rather simple. We trust people when they demonstrate they care for us, personally.
Let’s take a look at those bank cock-ups again. They get bonuses, we pay the fines. Does it look as though they are caring for us? Nope. It looks very much like they are looking after “number one”. And that is a pure recipe for being seen as untrustworthy. We perceive selfish people as untrustworthy.
It is a simple lesson for anyone in business and for every website owner.
If your website or business conveys the image that you are only doing it for your own gain, your customers will not trust you.
However, if you send the message that what you do is for the good of your customers and that you only have their interests at heart, then you will be trusted.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+