Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Selling Trust For A Price - A Tuesday Conversation

A passing conversation earlier today has had me thinking about the changing dynamic of “Trust”.

Arguably, in today's world, we have more reasons to be less willing to readily grant our “trust”, however are we actually doing the opposite?

In an era when “disruption” of traditional industry sectors is a common objective, is it really Trust that is being disrupted?

Alternatively, is it just a case of more of the same?

Is moving forward simply associated with being more trustful?

It is only a few decades ago that the Branch Bank Manager was a highly respected individual in the community. Banks were also held in high regard. We trusted big brands however our trust in banks has since diminished.

Brands were important.

It was also not that many years ago that we made most of our purchases at a local shop. The butcher on the corner was trusted and honoured that trust. If I asked for a certain meat type, they may say that it is not the best today and suggest an alternative. His advice was trusted and honoured.

It was the same where we purchased our fruit and vegetables.

The Trust we had for local specialist retailers was significant and important.

The entry of supermarkets disrupted the small business retail sector and we swapped trust for cheaper prices. We traded the Fresh Food Person we knew by name at the end of the road for the “Fresh Food People” and prices that are “Down Down”.

We traded Trust for price.

That was then, what about now?

We happily jump in a private car with a stranger. We trust a driver who is subject to little or limited regulation to drive us from point A to Point B, and do so at any time of day or night. We used to have a degree of Trust in a licenced Taxi driven by someone who was licenced and tested to drive professionally.

In the regulated Taxi, the fact a passenger was onboard was a matter of record, as was their whereabout and there is a camera in the cabin for added security.

However, in the interests of price, we trust the alternative.

Our ride share ends at a private home. We are sleeping in the owner's spare room for the next few nights. We have no idea who they are or their background, but in the interests of saving money, we grant them our trust.

We need a hire car so we go to our phone and arrange one through the Car Next Door App. Is the car required to be road worthy? The formally licenced car hire firms have to provide safe road worthy vehicles, or be banned from operating.

But, we happily leave the home we shared last night with the stranger, the one we arrived at by way of the private ride share, and collect the “Car Next Door”. We do so with Trust.

That night, our host doesn’t want to cook and instead, orders dinner from Home Made. The meal has been prepared by someone, somewhere, in their home kitchen. They are governed by little regulation.

Restaurants adhere to many health and hygiene regulations and are inspected regularly.

We trust the home cook and enjoy a tasty dinner at our home share where our Car Next Door is parked in the street.

Growing up, we were taught to not talk to strangers or accept food from them, and to never ever accept a lift from someone we didn’t know. We were taught strangers were not to be Trusted.

I am not criticising the “share economy”, but merely making an observation of our changed attitudes to Trust.

I have happily and regularly used Uber. I have stayed in accommodation booked via AirBnB and have booked a car with Car Next Door.

In all circumstances, I have been pleased with the service and thrilled with the cost.

However, we have become very Trusting of strangers, while at the same time, expressing a lack of Trust in many of our well-established institutions and brands.

I find this a most interesting evolution.

1 comment:

Kate said...

Very interesting piece Colin. I think the difference is that trust is now created through online reputation - through reviews and social profiles that allow us to get a view of the person we're dealing with and their past conduct, through reading what experience others have had in dealing with them. In many ways this is a deeper and more flexible type of trust than simply trusting in 'the authorities' to make sure that every service is regulated and policed.