With transparency and ethics.

Transparency and ethical behaviour are viewed as vital to building trust by 83% of consumers globally, according to SAI Global’s inaugural Consumer Trust Index. Topping the list at 88% is a reputation for good quality products and services.

The global risk management firm surveyed 3,035 consumers globally between November 2016 to January 2017, to help businesses understand what trust means to them – how it is built, protected, lost and restored.

SAI Global CEO, Peter Granat said taking an intelligent approach to dealing with organisational risk is critically important for businesses to ensure continued success.

“With technology rapidly altering and expanding public access to information, understanding consumer trust and knowing how to protect it is imperative. Trust is a powerful, valuable and fragile business asset – once lost, it can be difficult to win back.”

The Consumer Trust Index indicates that 43% of customers would never return to a company following a data breach. Poor customer experience (31%) and poor treatment of employees (29%) would also keep customers away.

The report highlights three key areas that can help businesses minimise the loss of trust and protect it going forward.

Handle failure well

47% of consumers strongly believe that trust can be won back if responsibility for a failure is acknowledged, systems to prevent repeat errors are established and quality service is ongoing. Companies that are vigilant in their response to crises and use a risk management framework to prepare and guide them through, are more likely to win back the trust of their customers.

Embed a risk-aware culture

82% of consumers believe excellent customer service and providing quality goods and services are signs of trustworthiness. The use of quality management systems that embed a risk-aware culture are essential for companies to deliver a positive customer experience and build trust.

Take an intelligent risk approach

Taking an intelligent risk approach – identifying, managing and optimising risks – will help organisations minimise consumer trust issues. This enables organisations to focus on strategic goals, understand their risk appetite and allow them to take advantage of opportunities – all while building trust with their customers.

“Today’s consumers wield enormous power in the trust relationship, which is why it’s so important to understand and protect their trust – particularly during times of crisis,” Granat added.