Brand loyalty is the result of trust cultivated over many years, but it can be destroyed in a day, especially when evidence of poor ethical judgment can go viral with the tap of a screen.
Consumers trust is gained not based on their physical assets or the products and services they offer but instead on the value and experience they deliver in the virtual and physical worlds.
Most importantly, consumers may forgive companies for their mistakes but not for dishonesty.
For example, getting personalised services in the age of data sharing is exciting, but consumers are increasingly concerned that their private data will be misused. No one wants an advertisement for health or life insurance, pointing out that they haven’t been exercising recently. Without a sense of trust between consumers and service providers, there is no common ground for privacy in our digital world.
Also, there are instances, when consumers are saying, “I will trust you if I know and value what I’ll get.” In this environment, companies must move away from mere data collection to a value-first mindset. As consumers become more educated about how a company is using their data, they want a personal, tangible and immediate benefit in return, and they’re willing to assume more risk.
Here are some ways organisations can ensure the trust of their employees:
Chief Trust Officer: The role of the chief trust officer would be to ensure that the monetisation of data assets conforms to ethical guidelines.
Ethics should be the main priority: Ethics must become a key performance indicator for every employee who has a direct or indirect connection with customer data. The starting point should be establishing onboard training for all new employees, and then initiating a company-wide program to help people understand the legal and business consequences of unethical data practices.
Be quick to respond to failures: Despite world-class technology infrastructures, history shows that organisations cannot promise customers that nothing terrible will happen to their digital information. Organizations need to recognise, understand and proactively manage potential negative issues.
Consumer trust has become the new battleground for digital success. To win, organisations need to master the fundamentals of data ethics, manage the “give-to-get” ratio and solve the customer trust equation.
“A brand is nothing but an expression of the consumer’s loyalty and trust.”
– Phil Dusenberry