Customer trust is one of several factors we look at in Sales Team Performance Management. Working at activity rates, sales skills, and lead generation is quite pointless if prospects don't trust the business they're talking to. On the other hand credibility or reputation - brand trust - can make up for a host of problems with marketing or sales operations. The higher your Customer Trust the more effective will be your sales operations, even if they aren't very good.
You can lose customer trust in all sorts of simple ways. Even spelling mistakes on the web site bring your quality into question. Poor product performance is bad enough, but failure to address customer service issues is much worse. Hell hath no fury like a customer who's discovered he's been taken for a ride.
One topical example is big banks and their success in selling high interest loan products to sub prime customers with the Payment Protection Insurance scam. Here's a (tongue in cheek) description of how it might have happened.
Some smart geezers in the banks borrowed large sums of money from the Chinese (for example) at 3% then lent it to high risk borrowers at 18%. A requirement of the loan was Payment Protection Insurance -PPI -amounting to more than 10% of the capital. This was added to the loan, so it attracted more interest. Next they reinsured the risk for a fraction of the original charge and bundled loans into bonds which they sold back to the Chinese.
It turns out the PPI wasn't worth the paper it was written on - so many exclusions that most people who needed to claim couldn't. They were still responsible for the whole debt - loan, insurance premium and interest for the whole term - and even further impoverished as a result. Everybody got poorer, except the bankers of course.
Eventually the wide boys got found out by the government and had to pay back more than $10 billion to the customers they'd ripped off.
The bankers only got away with this dirty dealing because of the brand trust they'd built up over decades, and now ruined in months. The relationship of trust between customers and their banks will never be the same again. The reputation of banks is in tatters. There's no brand trust left and it'll be much harder for them to sell anything in the future. This could very well be the beginning of the end for those organisations. Will anybody ever buy from them again?
How is your Customer Trust factor working for you? Does it make people more, or less, likely to overlook minor issues with product and price. Does it help or hinder your sales process as the guys pitch those deals.