2022 Trust Report: Customer trust is earned or broken with every experience
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Today’s digitally savvy consumers expect companies to step up as trust leaders in their communities, workplaces and marketplaces. According to Morning Consult, “the role trust plays in boosting a brand’s reputation, customer loyalty and the bottom line has never been more critical.” From living their brand purpose to respecting customer data to delivering valuable experiences, trust is non-negotiable and must be a part of every company’s DNA.
To better understand the ways brands can build trust with customers and employees, Adobe surveyed 12,066 global consumers and 2,031 senior executives across 15 countries (US, India, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Germany, UK, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, Denmark, Sweden, and New Zealand) between January and February 2022. While the data found some variation by region and country, we saw remarkable alignment amongst global consumers around what it takes to earn and keep their trust.
Brands are facing more challenges in building trust with customers. A large majority of executives (75 percent) say that since the pandemic began, they have had a harder time building and maintaining trust with their customers.
Digital experiences are just as important as in-person experiences in earning customer trust. While in-person experiences will always be core to earning trust with customers, global consumers say digital experiences are just as important. For most Gen Z and Millennial consumers, digital customer experiences are now even more important than in-person experiences in building trusted relationships with brands.
Responsible use of data is the price of admission for earning customer trust. Regardless of how quickly governments or businesses move to protect customer data, consumers want brands to act now.
- 73 percent are worried that the data brands collect will not benefit them, and instead will only be used to help the brand.
- 81 percent of consumers say that having choices about how companies use their data is important.
- Keeping data safe (84 percent) and providing consumers with transparency and control over how their data is used (84 percent) are the top ways brands can in regain customer trust after it is lost.
- However, only 41 percent of executives say that having strong data privacy and governance processes is a top priority for their companies. Other data practices like leveraging AI, consolidating data cross silos and creating unified customer records are also low on executives’ priorities.
Customer trust is earned or broken with every experience. Whether selling to consumers or businesses, brands earn trust by keeping the promises they make to their customers across the entire relationship — from respecting their data to providing experiences they value at each stage of their journey.
- 76 percent of consumers say it is important for brands to show empathy by demonstrating they can see things from the consumer perspective, understand their frustrations and know what is really important to them.
- 69 percent of consumers say that providing personal experiences they value is critical to rebuilding trust.
- 72 percent of consumers say that poor personalization decreases their trust in brands, with more than 1/3 (36 percent) saying it significantly harms their trust.
- More than half (58 percent) will stop purchasing from a brand that does not provide personal experiences they value.
- 72 percent of consumers say relevant content delivered at the right time and place boosts their trust — more than a quarter of Gen Z and Millennials say it increases their trust “a lot.” Providing creative and interesting content is also one of the top ways brands can demonstrate empathy for customers.
- 72 percent of consumers say they trust AI to improve their customer experiences at least some extent. And while the sentiment around AI is largely positive, about 2/3 (65 percent) of executive leaders have seen AI-driven bias in their own companies.
Taking care of employees is key to building brand trust: If companies want to earn the trust of their employees, the most important thing they must do is “practice what they preach.” (80 percent).
- Employees ranked “provide personal support” (76 percent) as #2 and “provide professional support” (73 percent) as #3.
- 76 percent of employees say having the right tech to do their best work increases their trust in their employers.
- Consumers ranked “supporting employees’ personal well-being” and “supporting their professional growth” higher than other key priorities like climate change and diversity and inclusion.
- When trust is broken, 76 percent of consumers say treating employees well will help rebuild that trust. On the other hand, 66 percent of consumers will stop purchasing from brands that mistreat their employees.
Trust and the bottom line: According to Accenture, trusted brands reap a range of benefits including the ability to “develop better services and better experiences, and to get better information to then tailor things for consumers." While trust can be difficult to quantify, the Trust Report gives us strong indicators of how the making and breaking of trust can impact brands’ bottom lines.
- 44 percent of global consumers will spend at least $500 or more each year with the brands they trust most, with nearly a third (29 percent) saying they will spend more than $1000/year.
- Younger consumers (Gen Z and Millennials) are even more likely to say they will spend $1000+ with their most trusted brands.
- When trust is broken, more than half (55 percent) of consumers say they will NEVER give the brand their business again. Gen Z is least forgiving (60 percent will never purchase again).
To learn more about how companies can earn trust with their customers, download the 2022 Trust Report here.