Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Can trust be measured? Daryl Mather thinks so.

Related to loyalty, but not to a loyalty program, per se, Daryl Mather, Senior Reliability Consultant at Meridium wrote an interesting post about measuring trust. The article seems to target professional consultants, however the concepts apply to all types of, well, "reputation marketing" for lack of a better term.

What I love about the article is that it actually talks about REAL NUMBERS. And for me, REAL NUMBERS equates to accountability.

Mather suggests that trust can be measured in the following ways:
- % of business from repeat clients (Mather says 30% of your work should come from repeat customers)
- % of business from both passive referrals and auto-referrals, where passive referrals come from clients who refer you to others, and auto-referrals are the result of your blog, press about you, etc.
- quote strike rate - ie, how many quotes are accepted vs the number sent out

These are really simple metrics that could be used for many purposes. Substitute "quotes" for "personalized letter and brochure" and you have yourself a recipe for direct mail metrics, for example. Mather's post focuses on a client-consultant trust relationship, but this could easily be translated into a consumer-brand relationship. Essentially using Mather's metrics as a foundation, you could build a scorecard for any type of business trust relationship.


  1. Thanks Katrina - nice post.

    The more I consider trust the more it is apparent that it is the hidden force behind everything that we do.

    And once you give it metrics - you give it teeth!

  2. Hurray, numbers! I like Daryl's post as well, and it certainly reaches into the account management side of things as well - whether my bosses agree or not is another case. There are certain models where this stops becoming the case - where your service saturation level is reached, in my case of recruitment - but I really like how simple this is to understand, and to apply. Nice response, Katrina - it got me thinking about how I can apply these things.

  3. Dan, thanks for your comment.

    Regarding saturation level -- is it ever realistic to obtain this, especially in your industry? Surely there is always another company that is hiring that could be a potential client, no? How do you measure market saturation in your case?

  4. Katrina, it's really dependant on whether you're measuring things from a company level or from an individual level. Yes, there is always (in theory, less so in practice with the current economy) a company out there hiring who is a potential client or who will do business with you. This is great from a company standpoint, but as an individual, I can only do so much until saturation. Because a lot of my business is the maintenance of current resources, I can get tapped out in terms of what I can do - and the top performers in the industry all demonstrate this situation.

    By the repeat business reference, if I'm providing all of a company's staffing work in the field I'm in, I'm saturated with them until they create new requirements. So repeat business does work - but sadly not necessarily on a regular, "predictable" scale.

    Does this make sense? If I'm too busy, I'm saturated; if my company is already providing all resources, we're saturated with this client. There's never "true" saturation, just perceived, I suppose.

  5. Dan - Great point. I've actually never thought of "saturation" that way, but it makes total sense. Saturation as in - as far as you can go given current limitations (be they resources or opportunities). I've always thought of saturation in simpler terms - ie my prospect universe is x number, therefore until I reach x number, I am not at my saturation point. Now that I think about that, that's a ridiculous argument - even from my conference experience. Afterall, you can only sell so many tickets to an event, and after that, you are done. You cannot sell more than there are. So I suppose that is saturation in some sense. Got it - thanks!