The role of trust in consumer relationships

"Trust" has become the subject of much discussion within business, academia and the media. At a general level, and especially post financial crisis, various studies have revealed low levels of customer trust, whilst several indices consistently put banking and insurance organisations at the foot of the trust 'league table'.

New digital communications now allow multi-channel customer relationship management, therefore customers' expectations have expanded, since participation in this multimedia environment involves greater empowerment of customers.

The purpose of this discussion paper is to investigate the role of trust in consumer relationships with 'service-rich' organisations. More specifically:

  1. What are the current levels of customer trust towards key service sectors?
  2. Which factors influence the customer "trust" decision making process?
  3. What are the business outcomes of earning customer trust?
  4. How can organisations build, or rebuild customer trust and develop sustainable customer relationships in this low-trust context?