Wednesday, 27 September 2017 11:47

Consumer trust a big issue for telcos: survey

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Consumer trust a big issue for telcos: survey Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Many consumers have a lack of trust in the providers of telecommunications services for their transparency and ethical behaviour, according to a new global index which found that consumers rated telecommunications the second least trustworthy industry.

The inaugural Consumer Trust Index from risk management firm SAI Global reveals that telecommunications was rated by 46% of consumers globally as trustworthy, placing it second from the bottom ahead of financial services (41%).

In comparison farmers (83%), healthcare (72%) and postal services (72%) were rated as the top three most trustworthy industries globally.

And, 43% of consumers globally say they would never return to a company following a data breach, while poor customer experience (31%) and poor treatment of employees (29%) would also keep customers away.

But, the survey found that 47% strongly believe that trust can be won back if responsibility for a failure is acknowledged, systems to prevent repeat errors are established and quality service is ongoing – while 82% believe excellent customer service and providing quality goods and services are signs of trustworthiness.

In addition, 83% rate transparency and ethical behaviour as vital to building trust, while 88% rate a reputation for good quality products and services.

SAI surveyed 3035 consumers globally between November 2016 and January 2017 and Peter Granat, chief executive of SAI Global, said taking an intelligent approach to dealing with organisational risk is “critically important for businesses to ensure continued success”.

“With technology rapidly altering and expanding public access to information, understanding consumer trust and knowing how to protect it is imperative.

“Trust is a powerful, valuable and fragile business asset – once lost, it can be difficult to win back.”

The report highlighted three key areas that SAI says can help businesses minimise the loss of trust and protect it going forward:

1.    Handle failure well

Forty-seven percent of consumers strongly believe that trust can be won back if responsibility for a failure is acknowledged, systems to prevent repeat errors are established and quality service is ongoing. Companies that are vigilant in their response to crises and use a risk management framework to prepare and guide them through, are more likely to win back the trust of their customers.
 
2.    Embed a risk-aware culture

Eighty-two percent of consumers believe excellent customer service and providing quality goods and services are signs of trustworthiness. The use of quality management systems that embed a risk-aware culture are essential for companies to deliver a positive customer experience and build trust.
 
3.    Take an intelligent risk approach

Taking an intelligent risk approach — identifying, managing and optimising risks — will help organisations minimise consumer trust issues. This enables organisations to focus on strategic goals, understand their risk appetite and allow them to take advantage of opportunities – all while building trust with their customers.

“Today’s consumers wield enormous power in the trust relationship, which is why it’s so important to understand and protect their trust – particularly during times of crisis,” Granat said.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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