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Building Trust in New Tech

Innovative new technologies are arriving every day, and with them come new opportunities. The speed at which these innovations are accepted relies heavily on user trust - without it, companies risk being left behind in the dust of competitors who have taken to the new tech. But how does one build this trust? In this article, we'll discuss just that: how to build that confidence and let your customers know they're in good hands when trying out a newer technology.

Sometimes, the introduction of new technologies to everyone at the same level of trust. Often in these cases, engineers forget that people may be coming from different backgrounds and a different state of confidence than we expect.

In 2019, British Airways was fined £183 million for a data breach that affected more than 500,000 customers. The airline had failed to disclose the full extent of the attack or how many transactions were compromised, drawing criticism from the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), who made clear they are unhappy with BA's conduct and inadequate handling of the hack. In November 2018, Uber disclosed it had been hacked in 2016. Since then, ICO has criticised its lack of care following this attack, for which it received a fine of over £400 000. With events like these becoming ever so common, how can companies be trusted?

One method for companies looking to build up trust is to emphasise that their product or service isn't wholly new and unfamiliar.
Using old, familiar words to describe something new can make it more trustworthy. Using a word like 'new' but then adding in one that is similar or synonymous with the original word (i.e., "revolutionary and exciting, not just new"), you are associating what's new as part of a more extensive process of change.

Another way companies can build trust in their product/service is by emphasising how they have invested heavily into researching and developing it. This investment may be signified through mechanisms such as patents, R&D expenditure or time spent on research & development.
The third option for marketing tech products is to identify trust influencers – people who can talk about products and services in a way that inspires confidence on an individual level. Recruiting experts in the field to give your product the stamp of approval, as often happens with new forms of social media, is a typical example.

The final element of a trust-building strategy is to make it clear what people are gaining from these new technologies. To address fears, you should emphasise the things we're sacrificing and highlight how much more we stand to gain. Concede that the level of trust required will depend on each individual's familiarity with these innovations. So one big mistake often made when launching them is assuming all consumers are in the same state of tolerance for experimentation.

A company or product can build customer confidence quickly by announcing partnerships with experts in their field; being transparent about how a product works and what they'll be getting; emphasising benefits over drawbacks, which may require tailoring your message based on an individuals level of trust. The quest for customer trust is never straightforward, particularly in a rapidly changing industry. To increase the speed of adopting innovative new technologies, companies need to understand how to build confidence in innovation.