What is Your Brand's Trust Quotient
February 17, 2023

What is Your Brand's Trust Quotient

If someone likes your brand, they'll pay attention to it. But if they trust it, they'll buy from you. And if they continue to trust you, they'll keep buying from you.

As a fundamental part of human nature, trust is central to interacting, doing business, and making purchase decisions. And that transcends to the brands we choose and how we perceive them, both online and offline.

73% of business leaders agree that trust positively impacts customer loyalty, and most others see significant payoffs in other areas like revenue growth and brand reputation. But how exactly do you quantify something so abstract?

The trust quotient is a valuable metric that you can use to assess and improve the customer-brand relationship. It's a measurement of how much customers believe in your brand and its values, services, products, or customer support initiatives.

What is the Trust Quotient, Exactly?

How much do people trust your leadership? How much do they trust your brand?

In a business context, "trust" is used for numerous things:

  • To interpret customer sentiment
  • To measure customer loyalty and brand affinity
  • To describe behavior, relationship dynamics, and consumer confidence
  • To measure the strength of relationships between customers, brands, and stakeholders
  • To indicate whether or not customers feel your brand is focused on their needs

In their book, The Trusted Advisor, David Maister, Charles M. Green, and Robert Galford explore these topics with research-based models and insights. Green has co-written two other books—Trust-Based Selling and The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook—which also describe the Trust Equation in detail.

Since then, Green has taken the concept even further, developing the "Trust Quotient," a metricized rating system for measuring trust on a scale of 1-15. Like an IQ score, your Trust Quotient (sometimes abbreviated to TQ) benchmarks your trustworthiness against predetermined variables to provide an overall rating.

The Formula for the Trust Quotient

The Trust Equation

Green's Trust Equation is based on the original premise of trust, which remains unchanged:

Trust = (Credibility + Reliability + Intimacy) / Self-Orientation

In other words, your brand's level of trust is determined by how credible, reliable, and intimate it is (the numerator) divided by its level of self-orientation (the denominator).

  • Credibility: This refers to a brand's reputation, expertise, and certifications. Do customers believe in their legitimacy?
  • Reliability: Does the company consistently deliver what they promise? Reliability focuses on the brand's dependability and ability to follow through.
  • Intimacy: This is the interaction between customers and the company. Are communications personalized? Do customers feel heard or understood?
  • Self-Orientation: Self-orientation looks at how much the brand considers its own interests when dealing with customers. Does it prioritize profits over customer satisfaction?

A higher trust quotient means your customers have faith in your services, products, and values.

Determining Your Trust Quotient Values

Of course, the four trust principles are abstract—it's not easy to measure something like comfort or reliability. So, how do you go about determining your trust quotient values?

To quantify these innumerate variables, the management consulting firm behind the Trust Quotient formula—Trusted Advisor—created the Trust Quotient Assessment, a survey-based tool that enables company leaders to evaluate trustworthiness at an individual level, as well as their team members, departments, organizations, and brands as a whole.

People tell me they are at ease with me

To measure this qualitative concept, the Trust Quotient Assessment gives those who take it a series of descriptive questions and statements to measure credibility, reliability, intimacy, and self-orientation. Participants can respond with one of five answers:

  • Almost Never
  • Rarely
  • Sometimes
  • Often
  • Almost Always

Since these responses can be quantified numerically, your TQ can be calculated based on your answers.

Trust quotient self diagnostic test

The resulting score is an average of these numeric values that gives you an overall Trust Quotient rating that ranges from 1-15, with 15 being the highest possible score.

Strengths and opportunities for improvement

The platform also gives assessment takers insight into their greatest strength and what they can do to increase their trustworthiness.

The Benefits of the Trust Quotient

Although straightforward and concise, measuring and taking steps to improve your TQ score offers several benefits for both you and your business.

  • By understanding how much customers trust your brand, you can develop an effective strategy to maximize customer loyalty and engagement.
  • A clear understanding of how your employees and fellow leaders view you—or your company—can help you assess how likely individuals are to collaborate on projects, refer clients or partners, produce high-value work, and invest in the business.
  • Having a measurable measure of trust makes it easier for brands to track the progress of their initiatives—such as customer service programs or marketing campaigns—and make necessary adjustments to increase trust and profitability.
  • The Trust Quotient can help companies better understand their customers and build stronger relationships. It directly correlates to Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), another valuable metric brands use to track the things that make customers tick and identifying where there is room for improvement. Brands can customize their messaging and offerings to create a personalized customer experience that will keep them coming back for more.

Calculating the Trust Quotient at the Brand Level

On a personal level, interpreting the TQ score is simple—answer questions about yourself and you’ll get a score that indicates your trustworthiness.

But the Trust Quotient isn't a magic bullet that automatically knows how others perceive your brand. It only understands your answers to its questions. Since the TQ score is an aggregate number that relies on personal input, you need to understand how the individual questions contribute to the overall score. And you need to know how to answer them correctly.

To do this, you need to understand where your business stands.

  • What do customers say about your brand online?
  • How do people who use your products or services review them?
  • How well do people resonate with your brand and its messaging?
  • Is your customer experience consistent with what your buyers expect?
  • Do you have any gaps in the customer journey?

To get that information, you need to use tools that allow you to take a closer look at how customers interact with your brand on a daily basis.

Here are a few tools that can help you do that:

1. Social Listening Tools

Social listening tools help companies analyze customer comments, conversations, and feedback from social media sites to understand how customers interact with their brand. They also provide an overall view of how people perceive the company and its products or services.

Social listening software uses AI-driven sentiment analysis algorithms to quickly identify customer sentiment and help you understand whether they are happy, unhappy, or neutral. It can also tell you exactly what customers are saying the most, giving you a solid idea of the areas you can address to improve the customer experience.

2. Web Analytics Tools

Web analytics tools provide insights into how customers engage with your website and digital channels. By tracking user behavior on your site, you can understand what pages are the most popular and how changes to your website might affect conversion rates.

This information is invaluable when creating content, campaigns, and other digital marketing strategies that can help improve your customers’ experiences.

3. Voice of the Customer (VOC) Solutions

Voice of the customer solutions (e.g., Qualtrics) help brands understand what their customers think about them. By collecting customer feedback through surveys or feedback forms, you get direct insights into how well people view your brand and what you can do to make their experiences better.

VOC solutions allow you to track customer satisfaction over time, giving you the insights needed to improve the customer experience and increase trust.

4. Reputation Management Software

Reputation management platforms have many of the above features built-in, but they also offer a few additional benefits.

The most important one is the ability to track your brand’s online reputation and monitor what people are saying about you on different channels, giving you an idea of how customers view your brand.

They can also help you quickly respond to any negative feedback or criticism, allowing you to take proactive steps to protect your reputation and maintain a positive customer experience.

How to Improve Your Trust Quotient Score

Using business intelligence tools, you can get a complete picture of how customers feel about and interact with your brand. Using the Trust Quotient, you can condense all of that data into one number.

But what can you do as a business owner to improve that score?

It all begins with improving the metrics you’re tracking, such as customer satisfaction and brand perception.

Here are a few essential ideas:

1. Personalize your customer experience using Humankind's platform.

Shopping and comparing products

The vast majority of businesses believe they provide personalized experiences to their customers, but only 60% of customers feel the same way. And nearly three out of every four customers feel frustrated when they don't receive the personalized experience they expect.

Conversational commerce offers a scalable solution in several ways:

  • Brands can take a proactive approach to the customer experience, providing tailored suggestions, offers, and product updates to customers when they need it.
  • Customers can look for products on company websites based on predetermined criteria, rather than trying to navigate through product catalogs.
  • Company reps can personally communicate with shoppers on the platforms they already use, be it SMS, social media, or live chat and video conferencing, building trust along the way.
  • Retailers can reduce shopping cart abandonment rates, mitigate the risks of buyer's remorse, and boost average order value (AOV) and customer lifetime value (LTV) by providing personalized recommendations.
  • Business leaders can measure the right KPIs that boost their TQ score, build zero-party data lists, and find ways to improve future customer interactions.
Humankind product and customer service

Our robust conversational commerce platform takes customer interactions to the next level, combining real-time personal communication with the irrefutable power of AI to create a truly personalized experience.

Here are a few of its features, and how they pertain to your overall TQ score:

  • Onboarding Quizzes: A key element of building trust with your customers is providing them with the professional help they need. Using our platform, you can build questionnaires into your site so your reps can get straight to the most pertinent information with new customers.
  • Customer Profiling and Segmentation: We allow you to create buyer personas and segment customers based on their preferences. This way, you can deliver tailored suggestions and offers that pique each customer’s interest, helping to increase trust in the overall brand experience.
  • Real-Time Personal Communication: Humankind enables businesses to put real people in front of their customers, giving them the opportunity to reply to inquiries quickly, build credibility, foster meaningful customer relatoionships, and create intimacy throughout the customer experience.
  • Saved Conversations: Our platform stores all customer conversations, making it easy to access details about past interactions. Whether you need to troubleshoot future issues, follow up with past customers, or provide new recommendations and offers, you’ll be able to do so quickly and easily.

Transparency and expertise go a long way when it comes to how your current and prospective customers perceive you. Using Humankind, showing your professionalism and extensive credibility is easier than ever.

2. Create content that resonates with your target audience.

The ultimate broken record in marketing is the old adage that “content is king.” While it has been said for decades, it’s still true today—but with a caveat.

Particularly in the age of ChatGPT and marketing automation, tons of brands create content for search engine rankings and vanity metrics like page views. But the key to shaping your audience perception lies in creating content that resonates with your target audience and serves as a valuable resource.

Depending on the type of brand you manage, building credibility could mean taking a few different approaches:

  • Writing blog content (like this) that is educational, informative, and helpful
  • Posting short-form how-to and tutorial videos on TikTok, YouTube, and other platforms
  • Creating “snackable” content for social media channels like Instagram stories
  • Developing in-depth podcast series that discusses critical topics in your industry
  • Hosting webinars to answer questions about your industry or brand
  • Posting memes and funny tweets that make your audience see you in a positive light

There are millions of ways to craft content that resonates with your target audience, and it’s important to create a mix of different types that showcases the expertise of your brand and helps you reach potential customers.

3. Monitor customer feedback across all channels.

The next step to increasing your trust quotient score is monitoring customer feedback across all channels, including social media, review sites, and customer service conversations.

Not only does this give you an idea of how well your brand is performing in the eyes of customers, it also gives you an insight into what could be improved.

Take a proactive approach to monitoring feedback—and don’t forget to use sentiment analysis tools to quickly identify any issues that need to be addressed.

For example, if you notice customers complaining about slow shipping times or a lack of product options, you can work to address those issues and show customers that you’re listening and considering their concerns.

Even small gestures like responding to customer inquiries on social media or sending personalized emails with thank-you notes can make a big difference in how customers perceive your brand.

And don’t be afraid to ask for reviews and ratings—especially if you know they will be positive!

Encourage customers to review your products or services by offering incentives like discounts or free samples. This will show your target audience that you’re genuinely interested in their feedback—and it will help improve your trust quotient score in the long run.

4. Be transparent about what you do and how you do it.

The modern consumer is concerned with several elements in the products and services they buy. In addition to concrete value, customers value sustainability, ethical treatment of employees, and transparency in a brand’s practices.

Purpose-driven companies are 4.1 times more likely to earn the trust of their audience, and access to the wealth of information on the internet means customers can find out the truth about a brand’s practices in no time.

As a result, it’s important to be transparent about what you do and how you do it—and to make sure your processes align with your values.

A few ideas:

  • Create marketing campaigns that showcase your commitment to sustainability and ethical practices.
  • Share stories about how you are making a difference in the world through your products or services.
  • Craft a consistent narrative around your mission statement and values.
  • Be open and honest about your customer service policies, shipping times, and product guarantees.

The more you can communicate your values, the more likely customers will trust your brand—and your trust quotient score will be higher.

5. Actually sell a good product or service.

A major element of the Trust Quotient calculation is integrity, which boils down to one thing: delivering a good product or service.

Think about your target customer, what they need to accomplish when using your product, and how you can exceed their expectations.

From there, you can focus on developing a product or service that is reliable, effective, and easy to use.

Test your products or services before launching them to ensure they meet the standards of quality and performance you’re aiming for and use your customer feedback data to inform future development.

Show your customers your true colors by actually delivering on the promises you make and they will be more inclined to choose you over your competitors, which will boost your trust quotient.

Brands build trust with their customers. Humankind scales it.

Businesses use Humankind's platform to improve all four pillars of the Trust Quotient.

  • Build credibility by providing customers with tailored feedback and recommendations based on their individual needs.
  • Show your reliability by responding to inquiries promptly and delivering a high-quality product or service.
  • Create intimacy by connecting customers with real reps from your company.
  • Prove your self-orientation when you listen to them and help them find exactly what they're looking for.

Trust is a two-way street—you need it for long-term success, but earning it takes professionalism, personalization, and consistency. By scaling your customer experience with Humankind, that trust will follow.

Want to see how it works? Book a demo here.

← Back to All Content