Don Peppers & Martha Rogers say that trust is built on combination of intent and competence. It's so true. Misfire on either of these, and it's hard to win customer trust.
Last week my Sirius/XM radio broke. I've been a loyal subscriber since 2003, and was very upset about losing the Spectrum, Lithium, Deep Tracks, Premiere League soccer, and of course Howard Stern. I called the call center and they were very helpful. They told me they would send me a replacement radio, and that I would receive confirmation that the claim was initiated.
Today, Sirius sent me that warranty claim confirmation via email. It said to expect the new radio in 7-10 days, and that I should ship back the broken one when I get the new one. Not five minutes later, I received another email from Sirius, asking why I hadn't returned the defective item and reminding me to do so within 30 days.
Proactive communication is very important, and while Sirius' intent to remind me about the process was there, its competence was lacking when it came to the timeliness of the email. It looks like automation trumped the experience in this case.
Luckily I have built up a trusted relationship with Sirius/XM for years, and will definitely let this mis-communication slide. The company has shown its good side over the years in other ways with prompt and helpful customer service and otherwise great communication. It even let me skip a few months worth of payments when I had some financial hardship. I am one of its biggest supporters (and admittedly a five-share stockholder).
But if this were a company I was new to, or if it were one I had received poor service from in the past, the lack of competence would be enough for me to lose trust, whatever its intention. Companies must do both well, or not bother doing either.