May 5, 2023

Overcoming the Trust Deficit

Commerce Trends

A quick scroll through any social network will find disgruntled posts about interactions with companies. Whether it’s disappointing quality, bad service, or unmet expectations, customer trust has been on the decline in North America, and people aren’t shy to share their experiences.

It’s easy to assume this only has to do with for-profit or government organizations, but according to Gallup’s annual measure of public trust, confidence in “the church or organized religion” dropped from 37% in 2021 to 31% in 2022, a decline of 6%.

Why This Matters

We don’t typically think about donors as customers, but many of the same communication principles apply when it comes to keeping—and rebuilding—trust.

People tend to lump similar organizations together in their minds, so if there’s an incident or scandal that breaks trust with constituents at one charity, it affects all charities negatively.

“The truth is, when trust is lost, customers are less likely to give you the benefit of the doubt and more likely to view the relationship with a critical eye. And in today’s digitally connected world, consumers can share that critical perspective far and wide with just a few clicks.”

For organizations facing a deficit of trust, Gallup recommends rethinking their approach to retention, because “recovering lost ground demands change.” How? By looking to Gen Z and young millennials. These individuals make up about half of the work force and they think differently about the world than older generations do.

“Change the narrative by leaning in to your organization’s core values and purpose. We know that young millennials and Gen Z genuinely care about brand values and are more selective about who they do business with, so embrace your values and find ways to share them with customers transparently. Don’t just tell customers about your values—embody them in decision-making at every level, from interactions with staff to customers.”

Next Step

To learn more about how to begin reversing the trust deficit, click here.

Photo by Canva.