How do startups design their products or services to maximize trust from customers?

A sense of trust depends on the existence of risk, especially in economic transactions. In Digital Financial Services, there is perceived and real risk from both the customer and the provider perspectives. From the customer perspective, we know that distrust grows when providers limit access, reduce convenience and compromise customers' comfort when using the product. If the startup provider is tuned into these kinds of pitfalls, and knows how to leverage the best practices in trust creation, then the startup can gain a crucial advantage. We saw this need across the startups we worked with, so it made sense to start our toolkit with how to design for trust creation.

Contents

1. Definitions
2. Design for Trust Framework
3. Trust Case Studies
4. Tools
5. Procedures
6. Further Reading

Toolkit Area
Trust Creation

Estimated time
3 hours

References
Pirate metrics
AVL Startup resources

 

DEFINITIONS


1. Trust Elements

What are the main components that make up trust in DFS? Many variables contribute to customer perceptions of trust, but we’ve distilled 5 main elements we think matter most for Digital Financial Services.

1

Competence
Give the users proof of your capability. Ensure them that you are able to perform what you have promised.

2

Control
Giving the user appropriate tools to manager their actions. Allow them to get a sense of control in the situation.

3

Transparency
Giving the user an appropriate amount of clarity and openness. Be clear on the things you ask, and why are asking for it.

4

Appearance
Giving the user a desired impression of the service by avoiding errors and consider how the service is received in the public.

5

Confidentiality/Consumer Protection
Taking reasonable steps to identify, monitor and mitigate customer risks such as fraud or inadequate handling of customer data.
 

2. Pirate metrics

Pirate metrics is is a well-known framework designed by Dave McClure for startups to help the management focus on the crucial decisions to make and where to measure along the customer's journey toward a startup's product a service. The AARRR (said outloud while motioning wildly like a pirate) model is thus:

  • Acquisition - How do users find you?
  • Activation - Do they have a great experience?
  • Retention - Do users come back?
  • Referral - Do they tell others about the product?
  • Revenue - How do you make money?


3. Intermediaries


4. Trust points

 

DESIGN FOR TRUST FRAMEWORK

By bringing together the trust elements and the AARRR metrics, we have the following trust creation framework to guide the design of trust creation from the customer's perspective. This framework helps the startup assess, structure and measure points along the customer journey where trust is created or destroyed. Below, we will examine each stage of the customer journey, and how to apply the trust elements. You can then use the Design for Trust Framework Canvas in Tools section, to chart and explore yourself, how your startup handles these trust point.

Design for Trust Framework Artwork.001.jpeg
 

EXAMPLES OF TRUST POINTS IN EVERY STAGE


Acquisition

So, how might each of these variables come into play at the different stages of the customer journey? Let’s start off with the crucial Acquisition stage, which basically equates with your go-to-market strategy. Here are some examples that can help engender trust at this stage. What trust signals are important to give to potential customers?

 
Design for Trust Framework Artwork.002.jpeg

Competence
Products design based on research on clients’ needs, preferences, and behavior from the getgo.

Control
Customers can easily access a transparent, free /low-cost, and efficient hotline in case of questions / concerns before activation.

Transparency
Customers can easily access a clear, simple statement of product features, terms, fees, and any interest payable. Information should be available digitally as well.

Appearance
Design takes into account customers’ likely financial and technological capability or levels.

Confidentiality/Consumer Protection
All advertising is communicated with language that is simple, clear, true, and not misleading and providers ask for customers' consent to use their data.

Intermediaries
Intermediaries acknowledge/are associated with product branding.
Encourage interoperability initiatives to ensure that clients can make digital financial transactions regardless of where they live or who their provider is.

 


Activation

What the customer experiences the first few times they use the product can make or break trust in the service. DFS in the developing world is plagued by users that complete the registration process, but never go on to become regular users. Providers can avoid certain key pitfalls and perform actions to engender continued trust at this stage.

Competence
Products design based on research on clients’ needs, preferences, and behavior from the getgo.

Control
Customers can easily access a transparent, free /low-cost, and efficient hotline in case of questions / concerns before activation.

Transparency
Customers can easily access a clear, simple statement of product features, terms, fees, and any interest payable. Information should be available digitally as well.

 
 


Retention

What the customer experiences the first few times they use the product can make or break trust in the service. DFS in the developing world is plagued by users that complete the registration process, but never go on to become regular users. Providers can avoid certain key pitfalls and perform actions to engender continued trust at this stage.

workshop 2.jpg

Competence
Products design based on research on clients’ needs, preferences, and behavior from the getgo.

Control
Customers can easily access a transparent, free /low-cost, and efficient hotline in case of questions / concerns before activation.

Transparency
Customers can easily access a clear, simple statement of product features, terms, fees, and any interest payable. Information should be available digitally as well.

 
 


Referral

When customers start referring your product, that’s the ultimate stamp of approval on trust! When users feel proud to share your product with family and friends, your network of users can grow for free. This type of organic growth is very important for Digital Financial Services.

Competence
Products design based on research on clients’ needs, preferences, and behavior from the getgo.

Control
Customers can easily access a transparent, free /low-cost, and efficient hotline in case of questions / concerns before activation.

Transparency
Customers can easily access a clear, simple statement of product features, terms, fees, and any interest payable. Information should be available digitally as well.

 
 


Revenue

Monitoring revenue is crucial for startups. When customers pay for your product, it’s a great sign that they trust and see value in your services. However, don’t get tempted by revenue to early. Getting product design and market fit right are crucial first steps in DFS.

Competence
Products design based on research on clients’ needs, preferences, and behavior from the getgo.

Control
Customers can easily access a transparent, free /low-cost, and efficient hotline in case of questions / concerns before activation.

Transparency
Customers can easily access a clear, simple statement of product features, terms, fees, and any interest payable. Information should be available digitally as well.

 

TRUST CASE STUDIES


TOOLS


 

FURTHER READING


 

Believing is seeing
The Economist
New technologies will make society richer by cultivating trust

The Evolution of Trust
The NYTimes
Op-ed on the evolution of trust

How Airbnb and Lyft Finally Got Americans to Trust Each Other
Wired.com
We are entrusting complete strangers with our most valuable possessions, our personal experiences—and our very lives. In the process, we are entering a new era of Internet-enabled intimacy.

The economy of trust
An insightful look at the sharing economy (Uber, Airbnb and TaskRabbit, amongst others) and why trust has become an undeniable force in today’s market.

Why Trust Matters More Than Ever for Brands
Harvard Business Review
We’ve all been taught that trust and reputation are important elements of branding. Today, though, trust is not simply a nice thing to have, but a critical strategic asset. The drivers of brand value have changed over time, and there are three forces at play that have brought the issue of trust to the center stage.

4 UI Design Lessons For Underserved Markets
The Ammunition-backed microlending startup Branch is a great study in how to design user experiences for the developing world.

Top 10 Things to Know About M-Shwari
CGAP M Shawari believes the relationship between savings and credit taken together is crucial for the generation of trust - an important reminder not to always think of credit and savings in separate silos.

Branch is raising a massive funding round to launch in Uganda & Tanzania next month
TechMoran
Branch uses the trust networks from its users digital connections as credit scores so the friends one has matters. The advantage it has over others is that it’s going into long-term lending and not shortterm lending as its competitors.

This App Wants You To Borrow Money From Friends, Not Banks
FinTech Ranking
Trust builds over time. This happens organically when you’re around a person in real life, but Puddle obviously didn’t have that luxury. The service needed to accelerate the feeling of trust in our virtual lives in order to make their idea work, and they did this by building on some core social media mechanics.

The right design at the right time
Medium A Design Partner at Google Ventures goes over the hierarchy of design that all great companies move through:

  • Level 1, Product Design: create a product that solves a problem or satisfies a desire
  • Level 2, Interaction Design: make it easy to understand and use
  • Level 3, Visual Design: make it beautiful