How to Create Product Trust and Overcome 3 Overlooked Issues

Epic photo by Leio McLaren on Unsplash

Products that create an “I love it” experience obtain and maintain trust through the experience, but before someone can even use a product they have to believe your story about the product.

Perceived trust comes from what story is told, how it’s told and who people think is telling the story.

There are two kinds of trust in a digital product.

First is mechanisms of trust. A mechanism of trust is something that creates actual trustworthiness in a system based on proof, policy or verification.

Second is perceived trust. How is a thing is judged as trustworthy, this is the feel, quality, and intention. Trust here is akin to a gut reaction from touching a physical product and judging product makers benevolence.

Perceived product trust is the degree of confidence someone has that your product will do what you say it will do.

These two types of trust can be used together, engineering real mechanics of trust while creating a story and marketing that shares the intent of the digital product.

Humans are emotional which makes perceived trust a primary concern. We believe a good story quicker than research. (Is there research on this?)

3 Overlooked Product Trust Issues

Often there’s a gap between what you know and what you communicate. You may have a firm understanding of why your product is trustworthy; the challenge comes in communicating this trust to others.

1. Trustworthy Intent

What does someone believe about the purpose of your product?

Why was your product made? Do people who view your product know why?

Trap of missing intentions:
Sometimes the problem a product solves is so compelling that people identify with the issue and place themselves in the story. They don’t need to know much more. Other times people may wonder what the intentions are behind the product. They want to know if they can trust the makers.

When intentions are missing or not clear people may feel like they are “being tricked” or they are being “sold to.”

Intentions may be left out because you have the customers good in mind, and so you don’t communicate it.

Show people your intention. Let people know you want what’s best for them. Share more about the challenge you solve for them. Share less about your product.

2. Trustworthy Storyteller

Who is talking about the product?

This is a little tricky, it’s like trying to look at ourselves without a mirror.

When we visit a website or open an app, we start reading content; we are getting a story from someone. This content can be perceived as coming from a person or coming from some faceless entity.

The trap of the missing storyteller:
 A faceless tone may happen in an attempt to be “safe” or “neutral, “ but instead, a “safe neutral” tone can come across not just as impersonal but as a non-person. The storyteller is missing!

The faceless tone may seem like something that will work, a raw logic approach, but we are emotional beings. We like to know who we are talking too so we can build a relationship.

If real people make your product, share that.

Let people know who is talking to them, a group, a company, a single individual as a rep?

Talk about your team. Talk about your leaders.

Don’t hide the storyteller.

3. Trustworthy Focus

What is your product about?

Having a focused message about your product may seem obvious, still I’m surprised to see so many products fail to have a focused message.

Lack of focus erodes trust.

I don’t think marketers, founders and go-getters lose focus intentionally, it’ an actual trap of good intentions that’s kills focus.

Here are two traps I see a lot.

The trap of the missing product:
One is that people know their product so well they don’t think it needs to be mention what it does or because they know it so well they forget to mention it. In this case, there is missing context. The problem is there is nothing to focus on. You can talk about how great your product is what it does for people, and the wonderful price it has, but if you never mention in a simple single sentence what your product does — then the product is missing.

Authentic products promptly share what they are and what they offer.

The trap of the lost product:
The opposite challenge happens when you share too much about a product. You have so many good things to offer, and you want to share all of them. As the adage goes if you give everything you have nothing… wait… selling to everyone means you sell to no one, I can’t remember the adage… still.

Like a relationship when you meet someone you share stories but if someone talks on and on without a break you get bored and you want them to stop. In the land of the marketing the social contract is different and people don’t have to listen to you, so they leave.

People on average read ten words on a website home page then make a decision. You only have a few seconds to engage people and take them to the next step of getting to know you.

Stay focused on your products critical value, precisely share what it’s about, then stop talking.

What’s The Impression Your Products Having?

To find holes in your own product story look intentionally at your product with fresh eyes. Ask questions. Hunt for a new perspective.

The best questions don’t have one answer.

The best questions may not even have an answer but start a conversation.

Questions to consider:
As you land on a sales page, website, look at ads or view any other part of your product story, stop and consider asking these questions to gain fresh perspective.

  • Why do I see this? Why is this shown to me?
  • Do the creators of the product seem good?
  • What is the product promising me?
  • Who makes the product and how do I know?
  • What action do they want me to take and why?
  • Is anything trying to trick me?
  • What does this product do for me (the customer, user, person)?
  • Would I trust this product, why?

Trust Happens In An Instant

The goal of gaining perceived product trust is to get the conversation started.

You want people to trust your product enough to take action.

You want people to trust your product enough to come back.

You want your product to be trusted enough.

Building trust in a product is like a relationship, it takes time, authenticity and communication. We want to be in relationships that are authentic, honest, engaging and which made us better.

Your product tells a story.

Does the story your product tell build trust?


Originally published at Ron Sparks.