Trust

Digital trust

Digital trust

Trust is the cornerstone of all relationships, be them inter-personal, institutional, or business-related. 

Trust is the cornerstone of all relationships, be them inter-personal, institutional, or business-related. 

“For it is mutual trust, even more than mutual interest that holds human associations together.” —

H. L. Mencken

In the digital age, trust transcends beyond the physical context and is needed in the digital context as well. We interact with friends, other professionals, public institutions and companies on the Internet. And trust (or the lack thereof) is just as decisive as in the “real” world.

Depending on the areas where we are interacting—and beyond the means we use—Deloitte defines four dimensions of trust:

  •     Physical: Our integrity, or that of others.
  •     Emotional: People and institutions around us enable us to be who we are.
  •     Financial: The continuity of our source of income and our bank’s security.
  •     Digital: When we transact online—shopping, communications—safely and privately.

Why is trust so important?

There are real, tangible benefits for organizations that build trust-based relations with their stakeholders.

According to a study published by the Harvard Business Reviewemployees in corporations with high levels of trust are 50% more productive and are more committed than those who work for corporations with low levels of trust. 

Besides, 69% of clients are more inclined to buy services and products from companies that embody their values and beliefs, according to another study by Accenture. Up to 92% are more inclined to trust companies that allow them to manage their own personal data.

Conversely, 40% of consumers would leave their favorite brands for others more transparent and up to 60% do not believe these companies defend their interests. The cost of mistrust reaches €2 billion in unrealized business. 

Private entities are not the only ones facing the loss of trust. In recent years, society has lost trust in institutions whose main purpose is to facilitate and safekeep trust, paradoxically. 

The challenge is quite obvious: how to regain the trust of billions of users, clients and citizens. 

Future Trends Forum expert Ethan Zuckerman explains it in the following video: trust has been eroding for decades.

Why is trust so important… now more than ever? 

Worrying about trust is not new. Currently, the difference lies in its global nature.The arrival of the Internet and globalization accelerate the pace and the scope. Trust in a digital context has global, immediate impact. Online mass media or social networks can accelerate trends tremendously. The flipside is that disinformation or manipulations can quickly and easily reach any user on the Internet. 

What factors have impact on trust?

 There are three key points that public and private institutions must focus on when starting a process to regain trust:

  • Authenticity,
  • Rendering
  • the service Transparency.

 As part of this process, there are four key elements of trust: 

  • Integrity: with well defined values which are always abided by. 
  • Skill: the ability to manufacture products or perform the services as mandated. 
  • Fulfilment: you not only know how to do it (skill), but you can do it correctly and in good time. 
  • Purpose: a social and environmental purpose must be declared, beyond purely economic purposes, with which consumers or citizens can empathize.

 When making a purchase decision, trust is second to price. Consumers—particularly millennials—request from the companies they buy to lead their business sustainably and ethically. According to a Nielsen report, 66% of consumers are willing to pay more for a sustainability-branded product. That percentage rises to 73% among millennials. 

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