Trust is a most fragile brand value
In our current marketplace, trust is not enough to win you customers. You have many trustworthy competitors.
However, the slightest chink in your “trust-armour” can lose you customers. Here’s an example:
I have been a loyal customer of Orbitz for a number of years, creating a near-reflexive habit of going to orbitz.com when I need to book travel. Each time I use Orbitz I am offered the chance to click a box and purchase travel insurance, which I never do.
I noticed three travel insurance charges on my credit card bill, related to three international reservations I had booked. When I called Orbitz they said it was too late to remove these charges since the travel dates had passed. “But I never selected travel insurance” did not seem to be a plausible objection to them.
With the agent on the phone I walked through a couple of “mock” reservations, and learned that for international reservations travel insurance is pre-selected, and you need to opt-out if you don’t want it.
What a bait and switch. For years I’ve been given the choice on Orbitz whether I want travel insurance, and then they sneak it in when I book international tickets. My brand impression of Orbitz changed immeditately. It went from “hassle-free/always-works/I-can-count-on-them” to “I better keep my eyes open from now on because they will try to take money from me when I am not looking.” We went from a We relationship to a definite Us & Them relationship.
Don’t ever be tempted to sneak something by your valuable customers. For about $100 Orbitz lost most of the trust I had in them. Making money in this way is a great example of “bad profits.”