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Friday, 10 July 2009

Is consumer trust online misplaced?

It's true that trust in the Financial Sector is at an all time low, but the sector is not unique and many brands are suffering from the loss of corporate trust amongst consumers.

From a digital perspective you'll hear many commentators stating that the trust model now lies squarely with peer to peer relationships. You'll trust your friends, those your linked in with, your followers etc. before anyone else, but why? When it comes down to it, alot of what we're relying on is someone's (and yes it's often one person) opinion or experience. On the whole they're unlikely to be an expert in the subject (unless you have a profiled set of friends that can provide you with expert insight across your entire consumer need portfolio) and maybe that's fine if you're buying a T-Shirt but actually if you're looking for a SIPP product or a new mortgage you'll still need some advice even if you've had a decent lead.

In terms of the maturity of online ratings and advice models across a whole spectrum of products we're not there yet in the UK and while peer to peer recommendation is becoming more and more important aggregating that opinion in a meaningful way is not there for every sector yet.

In Financial Services we've still got some work to do before we can reach the same sort of user experience as in the US. There are some emerging in the UK. Martin Bamford recently announced the imminent arrival of which if it fulfils it's promise will provide a powerful knowledge resource for personal finance, but we're going to have to be a wee bit more patient before we throw all our eggs into the peer to peer basket. We're seeing glimpses of what the future could hold but we're currently at the bottom of what could prove a huge mountain.

Crispin Heath
Head of Digital

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