YA, a customer engagement marketing company, and the Institute for Research in Marketing, which is part of the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, have partnered to organize the 2018 Ignite Conference. The main topic of the conference is customer trust. This topic has come up after the results of a recent survey, conducted by YA, were published in August.
 
According to the survey, trust is top of mind for consumers. 93 percent of respondents said they consider whether they can trust an organization before they give the company their business. In addition, nearly all respondents (96 percent) said there are circumstances in which organizations can lose their trust forever. Nearly a third (32 percent) said they have less trust in organizations than they did five years ago.
 
“In recent years we’ve heard tale after tale of trust issues between consumers and companies,” says YA President and CEO Chris Behrens. “It’s incumbent for organizations to work day in and day out to build a culture of trust with employees, partners and customers, and to be transparent and honest when issues do arise.”
 
The survey also found that 60 percent of respondents said their personal information had been compromised as a result of a security breach affecting a business, and two-thirds said it is unlikely they would return to the business where the breach occurred.
 
“In today’s large, complicated businesses, there are countless ways organizations could potentially lose consumers’ trust,” says Steve Goodyear, Director for the Institute for Research in Marketing.  “There are clear right and wrong ways to handle these situations, with the worst action being no action at all.”
 
According to the survey, the top actions organizations can take to re-earn consumer trust is for management to be transparent, admit there is an issue, and announce steps to regain trust. Another top way to work to regain trust, according to the survey, is to create a clear mission and values in the organization to ensure employees are working ethically and living those values every day, not just in times of crisis.
 
“Think of gaining and keeping trust as a marathon, not a sprint,” says Behrens. “Smart organizations regularly assess their business processes to ensure employees are rewarded for behaving in a trustworthy, ethical way.”
 
When asked about their own work environment, 65 percent of respondents said at some point they had a boss or co-worker who was doing something unethical, and nearly half (48 percent) said that they have worked for an organization that had unethical practices in place.
 
More than half of respondents (57 percent) said that if they saw unethical behavior in the workplace, they would tell their supervisor.
 
“This is a classic case of ‘see something, say something,’” says Goodyear. “If organizations can curb unethical behavior before it spreads, they’ll have a much greater chance of protecting their brand and the consumers they serve.”
 

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