Like the public’s trust in politicians, the consumers’ trust in a wide range of businesses has plummeted.
They include energy suppliers, banks, insurance companies, mobile phone companies and the big supermarkets. All have been guilty of marketing complex offers for products, purporting to be better value, in such a way that consumers cannot with any confidence compare them.
Betrayed trust has led to a marked change in buying behaviour such that people no longer stick with one supplier.
The most noticeable moves have been in the grocery retail sector, where companies like Aldi and Lidl have seen their profits rise by up to 10% and one of the biggest casualties has been Tesco, whose behaviour towards both suppliers and customers has been exposed as less than honourable.
Generally, consumers will assess the value and affordability of a higher-priced product compared with a cheaper one and will buy whichever suits them, but only if they feel they are getting value for money.
It is a mistake to believe consumers can be bamboozled by alleged bargains that then turn out not to be. It is also a mistake to insult their intelligence.
Giving fair value, good service and a reputation for being trustworthy are valuable assets for any business’ reputation. There is a lesson and an opportunity here for SMEs, who can often demonstrate these qualities in a way that the bigger organisations cannot.
The key ingredient is trust.
How do you demonstrate trustworthiness to your customers?