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The Rise of the Trust-Based Economy: Why Honesty is Key in Tough Times

The fifth edition of the State of the Connected Customer Report, produced by our partner’s at Salesforce, provides insights into the new customer engagement landscape. Based on responses from nearly 17,000 consumers and business buyers, the report highlights the way in which events of recent years, including the global pandemic and the supply-chain crisis, have influenced the way in which customers interact with brands. Trends such as digital-first experiences, personalisation at scale, data privacy legislation and the rise of asynchronous channels have all contributed to this shift.  

The Salesforce report is segmented into four chapters, and we here at redk will summarise the highlights from each chapter over our next four blog posts. This week, chapter one: 

‘A Trust-Based Economy Moves to the Forefront.’ 

Building Trust: Honesty and Transparency

Brand transparency is one of the keys to building trust. Over 90% of consumers display greater brand loyalty to brands that practise transparency. In uncertain times, trust has become a valuable commodity. 

Salesforce’s report showed that 74% of customers say communicating honestly and transparently is more important now than before the pandemic. 

The good news is that most customers do trust businesses, and the percentage is rising – 52% of customers say they generally trust companies, up from 48% in 2020. And trust in organisations to tell the truth has risen to 68%, an increase of nine percent over two years. This is in contrast to reported trust in institutions such as the government and media, which are viewed with increasing scepticism.  

 

Trust is Complex and Multifaceted

In Salesforce’s words, ‘Trust comes from being treated thoughtfully, not lost in an anonymous system.’ 

However, as we can see from the above figures, trust has several different aspects: a customer may trust a company’s product quality, but not its social or environmental commitment. Issues such as use of customer information and data also play a part. Business users in particular view responsible use of data as key to gaining trust: safeguarding against data misuse is critical as transactions are increasingly carried out digitally.  

The quality of customer interactions is also an important factor in building trust: being treated impersonally, receiving irrelevant communications or being unable to access support are cited as being detrimental to customer loyalty. Conversely, 62% of customers say they feel an emotional connection to the brands they buy from most frequently. 

Company Values: A Defining Issue for Customers

While the quality of products and services remains important to customers, they’re now increasingly concerned about corporate values and ethics. 85% of customers state that their purchasing decisions are influenced by the way in which a company treats its employees, and over 75% take environmental concerns into account.  

Brands which position themselves as environmental champions generate particularly positive emotions. In today’s ever changing world, consumers seek out comfort – they look for familiarity and consistency in their brands. If a brand isn’t reaching a customer’s needs, they’ll find one that does. 

Salesforce reports that ‘66% of customers have stopped buying from a company whose values didn’t align with theirs – up from 62% in 2020.’ 

In addition, customers show an increased desire for companies to state their values clearly: while almost nine out of ten customers expect this, only half of them feel that this is routinely practised. Taking a stance on social and environmental issues, and communicating this proactively, is now viewed as an opportunity for organisations to prove their integrity.  

Placing Trust in the Narrative

It’s clear that your organisation must add trust to your initiatives in order to remain competitive. Customers want to be treated as people, not numbers. And this can be achieved with the right technology and communication tools.  

With our over 15 years of experience, we here at redk understand the importance of trust. Providing our consulting expertise and digital capabilities to implement the technology that worlds for your brand, we can help boost your organisation’s strategies to enhance consistency and loyalty, trust us. Talk to us today to find out how we can change your customer experience from good to excellent. 

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Hideki Hashimura

Lead Consultant
CRM Transformation Practice at redk

Hideki applies over 15 years of experience in the field of CRM and Customer Experience to overcome business challenges in the customer cycle.

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