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.
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.