Is Your Company Losing Trust? New Research Shows Consumer Expectations Are Up, Customer Service is Down, Millennials Rule, and Price Still Matters

The Better Business Bureau today released new research that shows about three out of five American consumers start from a point of trust when engaging with a business for the first time, and their expectations are increasing even as their customer experiences too often disappoint. The “BBB Trust Sentiment Index,” based on research conducted for BBB by Nielsen, introduces a new standard for measuring consumer trust in a marketplace where trust is increasingly becoming a key strategic priority for businesses and institutions in building long-term relationship with consumers.

The BBB Trust Sentiment IndexSM created a trust scale from 0 (start skeptical) to 100 (start with trust) to assess the consumer experience in today’s marketplace. Overall, consumers do have an inclination to start with trust; the average overall Trust Sentiment was 67.5. Males (70) are more trusting than females (62.5) and Millennials ages 18-34 (72.5) are more trusting than those 55+ (62.5). Trust sentiment also varied with type of business.

“One of the most startling findings in the research is that customer expectations seem to be increasing faster than customer service is improving,” noted Dr. Rubens Pessanha, PMP, SPHR, GPHR, senior director of research, insights and strategy with the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) and principle author of the research report. “We found that 41% of those surveyed said they had a negative customer service experience in the previous 12 months. Even more concerning, three out of four said the number of negative experiences with companies is about the same amount of (or greater) than it was three years ago.” This is important since service quality is a key aspect of how consumers build or lose trust in businesses.

Another aspect of trust sentiment that should concern businesses is…

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