Consumer confidence in the retail banking industry has "eroded significantly", with an overwhelming majority of UK customers - 71% - saying they do not trust their banks, according to research released by Unisys.
This is quite some turnaround from the early 90s, when banks were perceived as the most trusted institutions in Britain. A rash of successive mis-selling scandals and damaging publicity over the exorbitant fees slapped on account holders has dented consumer
confidence in the industry. Wave after wave of branch closures and the – sometimes mandatory - introduction of impersonal automated systems has also served to distance banks from their customers.
What can be done to turn the tide, to regain that loss of trust?
One answer may lie in the blogosphere and in the growing trend for online social interaction.
The corporate Web log offers enterprises a means to engage with their customers in a more meaningful way. The informal nature of the blog as a means of communication can rub some personality back into a tarnished brand. It can be used to instil trust, act
as a consumer champion, and create new opportunities for one-to-one engagement with customers.
It’s a small step, but it requires a big leap of faith for the buttoned-up banking business. Allowing your staff to play fast and loose with the corporate brand - and being big enough to fess up to mistakes in public - won’t come easy. But if you can’t trust
your own people to spread the word, why should your customers put their trust in you?