A new market research study of over 3600 consumers has confirmed that there are some key things that will quickly erode any trust a customer has in a company: unethical behavior, bad customer service, and outdated products and services. The bad news is that the study was conducted in Europe, which makes us wonder if U.S. companies will pay any attention.
One interesting finding is those same conditions don’t build trust for consumers as quickly, “suggesting that they have now come to expect these attributes in day-to-day business.”
However, their trust can be severely eroded when these baseline requirements are not met, with potentially dramatic consequences for business. For example, a massive 63% of European consumers would be concerned about buying a product or service if a company was unethical; 56% would lose trust with bad customer service, and 59% would react negatively to outdated products and services.
The same holds true for issues of security—the study found that customers are willing to move to a competitor if they offer higher security, but they don’t feel it should be treated as an “added value” that justifies higher fees.
As an aside, it’s interesting to compare industry reputations across the pond: banks are among the most trusted in Europe, while telecommunications and airlines are the least trusted.
We wonder how much longer it will be before shareholders start to realize that a healthy company is dependent upon meeting these requirements as much as meeting quarterly sales goals—perhaps it’s already begun with the recent shareholder suit against Mattel.