Are you an oasis or mirage? How to gain customer trust


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People say the darndest things when they are trying to sell something! The worst of which mislead, over-represent or simply excessively hype a product or experiences the “FAILS” the advertising promise. While we know that customer’s have soured on brand advertising thanks to a history of dishonesty, a recent Adweek Media/Harris Poll surprised me with how bad the cycnism has become.

According to the study, “only one in five American adults say they trust that advertising is honest in its claims all or most of the time. Rather, a majority say they trust that advertising is sometimes honest in its claims, and just over one in ten say that they never trust that advertising is honest in its claims.” NEVER – WOW!

While all adults see advertising claims as unreliable the study finds, older adults demonstrate more suspicion than younger adults. “While 90% of young adults aged 18-34 say they trust that advertising is honest in its claims at least sometimes, 86% of older adults agree. Of those, 35-44 say this, as do 84% of those 45-54, and 81% of those 55 years and older. Conversely, almost one in five adults 55 and older say that they never trust that advertising is honest, compared to less than one in ten 18-34 year olds who say the same.”

Trust That Advertising And Its Claims Are Honest (All U.S. adults; % of Category)
Gender Age Children in HH
Frequency Total Male Female 18-34 35-44 45-54 55+ Has Child in HH No Children in HH
At least sometimes (NET) 85% 83% 87% 90% 86% 84% 81% 87% 84%
All/Most of the time (NET) 19 20 19 24 25 15 16 24 18
All of the time 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 1
Most of the time 18 18 18 21 23 14 15 23 16
Sometimes 65 63 67 67 61 69 65 63 66
Never 13 14 11 8 10 12 18 9 14
Not at all sure 3 3 2 1 4 4 2 4 2
Source: Harris Interactive, November 2010

While the study goes on to talk about who people feel should police advertising claims (the government or industry groups), I’d rather focus on the opportunity that lives in this environment of distrust. What if your advertising is honest? What if you really do underpromise and overdeliver? What if your company is actually based on transparency and authentic customer experiences?

I say, if all those things are true – people will flock to you as if you are an oasis in a desert of mirages!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joseph Michelli, Ph.D.
Joseph Michelli, Ph.D., an organizational consultant and the chief experience officer of The Michelli Experience, authored The New Gold Standard: 5 Leadership Principles for Creating a Legendary Customer Experience Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and the best-selling The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary Into Extraordinary.


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