Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Decoding Trust in the Technology Sector




With the proliferation of technology comes the ever-pervasive question – how trustworthy is technology? The impact of technology in our lives has become so deep-seated that it is really difficult to separate it even from our consciousness. In such a technology-driven world, where technology is behind almost everything from the engines of our cars to the microprocessors in our smartphones, having faith in the machines we use comes as second nature to us. However, the overdependence on technology and its high exposure to our personal information makes the industry even more vulnerable to any slippages in terms of trust. Trust erosion in the technology sector may not be as instantaneous; however, given the highly competitive industry space, developing and sustaining this trust becomes most crucial for tech brands.

Presently, most tech brands in the country use varied approaches to winning the consumer’s trust, as there is no single unified strategy for it. However, using the proprietary Trust Matrix developed by us for better communications, it is possible to analyse the industry’s key Trust behaviours observed in the past six years. Our Trust Matrix is comprised of 61 Trust Attributes which are further collated into ten Behaviours of Trust. The ten behaviours of Trust include Empathy, Shared Interest, Non-Threatening Ambience, Enthusiasm, Corporate Altruism, Demonstrated Sincerity, Accepting Responsibility, Perceived Competence, Commanding Respect, and Outward Appearance.

For the tech sector, Perceived Competence is a behavior that has always and must perform strongly. However, tech brands should not only be perceived as competent but should exhibit their capability as well. Without this behavior, it becomes difficult for the audience to remain engaged for a long time. Tech brands have also showcased high Non-Threatening Ambience. Technology ought to be approachable to the consumer of it, ensuring that ambience created is always comforting. In today’s times, when transparency has become a key area of debate for the tech industry, especially the digital tech industry, communicating non-threatening ambience is absolutely necessary.

Outward Appearance is a behavior that is not as strong for the entire tech industry, but brands that showcase this behavior, such as Apple, do vouch for its importance in terms of trust. Tech brands must conform to high standards consistently over time to garner the trust of its audience. Expressing themselves appropriately while showcasing an attractive appearance are two ingredients to feed this Trust Behavior.

Lastly, the tech industry exhibits the behavior of Accepting Responsibility, a clear consequence of the growing awareness of consumers. However, tech brands do not always perform high on this behavior, paving the need for a strategy that perhaps gives this behavior more focus. After all, sustaining a customer’s loyalty comes naturally when a brand is able to have the courage to accept its failures, especially when the relation between the two is so intertwined. As already stated, there isn’t a single strategy that provides the best results for any particular industry; however, understanding the composite elements of trust in the tech sector can have manifold benefits for tech brands.

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