Fewer than one-quarter of consumers in the US feel they are more in control of their data than they were a year ago. With consumers feeling like they have little control over the way their data is used by companies, it stands to reason that respect for consumers’ data is a top driver of brand trust, as found in a report from Morning Consult.
The survey of more than 15,000 global consumers spanning 15 markets shows that of the most important elements of brand trust, respect for and protection of customers’ data, privacy and security ranked at the top of the list, with a net importance of 74%. Similarly, consumers tend to trust a brand that protects their personal data (73%).
Other top drivers for brand trust are more product-related. These include good value for the price (73%), high quality (72%), and products or services that are effective or work as advertised (71%). That the brand has products available when the consumer needs them (67%) also ranks high in importance to respondents.
With a majority of consumers saying they have considered switching to a competitor after a negative customer service experience, it’s clear that customer service and experience are drivers of brand trust. Indeed, respondents say brand trust is positively influenced if a company treats customers well, even in tough times (72%), has good customer service and is responsive to problems (72%), consistently delivers on what they promise (71%) and is reliable and dependable (70%).
What Factors Break Trust?
While the above factors help drive trust, brands can also expect consumer trust to take a nose-dive if they falter in those areas. Consumers’ net trust plummets for brands or companies that had a data breach that compromised personal information (-73% of net trust). In fact, more than half (54%) of consumers say they would never use the brand again if this were to occur.
Consumers are increasingly attracted to companies that are ethical. As such, trust declines if a brand lies about charitable giving or commitments to charities (-70%), if they are known for not being ethical (-66%) or if they are known for not being responsible towards the environment (-65%). And, for 2 in 5 consumers, if a brand acted unethically or acted harmfully towards the environment, they would never use that brand again.
Other factors that drive down trust may be detrimental for a time but might not mean long-term loss of customers. Net trust falls when consumers have a bad experience with customer service (-72%); however, half of those surveyed say while they would stop using the brand they might consider using it in the future.
A broader look found that some 22% of consumers say they have never lost trust in a company or brand. However, the rest have not been quite as fortunate. For those that have stopped using a company that did something to lose their trust, the largest share (30%) say they started using a similar product offered by a competitor. One-quarter (24%) say they will never use that brand again, while another quarter (26%) would consider using that brand again in the future.
Lastly, about 1 in 8 (12%) say that although a company did something to lose their trust, they continued to use them.
The full report can be found here.
About the Data: Findings are based on a March 2021 survey of more than 15,000 global consumers across 15 markets: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Spain, the UK and the US. Percentage figures represent net trust.