The most important product feature is trust

A couple of days ago I came across an app on Producthunt which, once you scann a multiple-choice question, gives you the right answer to it — most of the time. The important part is the addition most of the time. One comment there stated that users will start second-guessing the app if it gives a wrong answer only one time. Eventually they will stop using the app, because it makes them more work, because they lost trust in the app’s ability.

That made me realize, that above all the most important feature of a product is the level of trust you have in it. Some are obvious such as the breaks in your car: If you cannot trust that the breaks will work, you won’t use it, regardless of how comfortable of efficient it is. In other products you would not label it trust right away, you might call it quality, speed or reliability. However, what all these traits have in common is that they rely on the level of trust that you have towards a product. Let me give you three examples:

  • Siri: You might say that for you, Siri’s most important feature is that is is reliable. However, if Siri is reliable but you do not trust it to be reliable it won’t work for you. If you do not trust it to be reliable it is does not matter whether it is reliable or not.
  • Ticket Gretchen: This is an app which informs you about cultural events in Vienna and lets you buy theater, opera and similar tickets. After installing and looking through it for the first time, the first thing that came to my mind (because I did not find anything interesting for me) was: “Are these all the events going on in Vienna?” But what I actually meant was: “Can I trust this app that it has all the events going on in Vienna?” It made me second-guess and made me google events. This significantly decreased its value for me.
  • Refly Refly is a AI-enhanced word editor. It sounds promising, but after it crashed once while I was writing I immediately had to stop using it, because I could not trust it to not mess up my writing progress.
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