The second week of May is a busy one this year, with multiple annual celebrations related to healthcare on the calendar. Here are some of the major events scheduled for 2022:

For healthcare organizations, events like these provide a great opportunity to better understand and meet the needs of stakeholders across the board—including those within your ranks, the patients entrusted to your care, and the prospects you’re hoping to attract to your door. 

When it comes to addressing the needs of all three, trust is one of the most important factors an organization must nurture and grow. This is especially true during an era in which healthcare workers are leaving or planning to leave their positions in droves, and many consumers are unsure if they can count on healthcare institutions to provide the support and care they need. 

Unfortunately, while many organizations may believe they’re achieving their trust-related goals—recently published research indicates that may not always be the case.

The Trust Gap

The results of a study published in October of last year, “Close the Trust Gap to Unlock Business Value,” revealed “a disconnect between leader perceptions and consumer values related to trust.” The joint study by Deloitte Digital and Twilio explored “the divergent perceptions of trust between consumers and business leaders in the United States.”

A press release announcing the results described why trust in this context is such a big deal.

“For many consumers, trust is the deciding factor when it comes to separating a business from its competition. Not only can trust help bring customers through the door, but it can also help keep them there — reducing churn and lowering acquisition costs,” the statement reads. “While that seems like a simple concept to employ, this new research uncovered a significant chasm between the way consumers and B2C leaders define and establish trust. The findings reveal that many leaders are overly confident about almost every dimension of customer trust in their brands, and as a result are leaving sizable business value on the table.”

When the right actions are taken, consumers are willing to forgive mistakes, both simple and significant. “This research shows on average, consumers will accept three mistakes from a brand before losing trust — provided that mistakes are resolved to their satisfaction and not repeated.”

The Four Signals of Trust

According to Deloitte Digital’s “HX TrustID” study, there are four key signals consumers look for to determine whether a brand is trustworthy: Humanity, Transparency, Capability, and Reliability. 

Deloitte Digital defines those four signals as follows: 

  • Humanity “indicates a belief that an organization genuinely cares for the experience and well-being of others.”
  • Transparency “indicates a belief that an organization openly shares information, motives, and choices in plain language.”
  • Capability “indicates a belief that an organization possesses the means to meet expectations.”
  • Reliability “indicates a belief that an organization consistently and dependably delivers upon promises made.”

Additionally, Deloitte Digital notes that the combination of Humanity and Transparency “form an organization’s intent” and the combination of Capability and Reliability “form an organization’s competence.”

Unfortunately, findings from the October 2021 joint report revealed that “B2C leaders overestimate performance on all core trust signals. …B2C leaders are three times more likely than consumers to strongly believe that their company consistently exhibits Humanity through empathy and kindness toward customers (40% versus 13%) and twice as likely than consumers to strongly believe that they always show Reliability by delivering on their promises (40% versus 19%).”

“There has never been a more important moment for brands to get it right when it comes to trust,” said John Peto, U.S. head of Deloitte Digital and principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP in the statement. “This report makes it clear that the organizations who rest on their laurels or continue with a business-as-usual approach will be leaving immense value on the table, while those that align their approach with the trust signals of their core audience will likely benefit both now and in the future.” 

Strengthening Your Trust Signals

The good news is that if you suspect your trust signals may be weak, there are specific steps you can take to strengthen them. Here are Deloitte Digital’s recommendations for the most important actions you should take related to each signal—along with example behaviors that each signal drives.   

In the joint study statement, Ashley Reichheld, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP and the creator of Deloitte Digital’s HX TrustID™ platform underscored the imperative for organizations to build and maintain trust. 

“The lack of consumer trust is pervasive, yet we find that business leaders are consistently over-estimating the trust that customers have in their brands,” she said. “Leaders must focus on measuring, predicting and acting to rebuild consumer trust so that they can foster meaningful differentiation and resilient customer loyalty. Trust is the key to accelerating growth and delivering value.”