Trust, and the Banks
So here's the thing about Trust; it relies on a combination of Intent, and Capability. You rely on someone not only being capable of delivering, but also having intent to do so... "Could you tell me the time Sir?" "Yes. I could."
But how do we behave when the trust equation isn't complete? If forced to choose between intent and capability, which way do we lean?
Sorry to say, its generally towards capability. For example, take two recently troubled UK banks: Barclays and RBS.
But after all the negative PR, and their respective regulatory beatings, only one of them suffered any material exodus of customers: RBS. Why? Because their failures directly hit the day to day needs of on-the-ground customers. That's Capability.
And that's why we will often choose big corporations over (arguably) more ethical or well-intended smaller competitors; at the end of the day we want the job done, and we tend to perceive bigger businesses as having a greater weight of capability behind them. This is particularly so when the product/service is complex or non-homogenous, or is especially critical or valuable to us (e.g. day to day access to our money).
Why This is Bad News for Small Businesses
When push comes to shove, it tends to be Capability that we prioritise over Intent.
This is bad news for small businesses as their proposition is very often all about being closer to their customers, more locally minded, more customer-empathetic... and this sounds an awful lot like this Intent thing to me.
So, how do you compete if your customers don't (just) value your good intentions?
Its Not (Just) What You Say...
And of course the more credence you can put to these claims the better. For example:
At the end of the day, I do believe that people and businesses like dealing with businesses that have personality, local values and similar ethics. However, we small business owners cannot rely on this as the sole basis of our marketing strategies, and certainly cannot expect our customers to suffer worse service, or higher prices, simply for the privilege.
By Kevin Sheldrake
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