Recent data from University of Victoria’s second-annual Gustavson Brand Trust Index (GBTI) showed that of all companies in Canada, Mountain Equipment Co-Op and President’s Choice ranked the highest among consumers when it comes to trustworthiness.
Though these are major national brands, the importance of trustworthiness runs deep for small businesses as well. What defines a trustworthy small business for consumers, and how does trust go beyond just the brand and image you present?
The Better Business Bureau divides the components of trust into Character and Competence. Put simply, one is the value system of transparency, integrity and fairness on which your business practices are based, and the other is the suite of skills and capabilities you demonstrate in delivering a high quality product or service.
No matter the industry, these qualities are universal and drive success with both customers and staff. When you add it all up, some institutions have a tougher time building trust, though the accessible and personal nature of the small business – let’s call it the “mom and pop factor” – makes consumers more willing than average to trust smaller firms.
Trust is moving online, as well: consumer reviews and reports such as those from the aforementioned Bureau, as well as review sites like Yelp, Facebook and Tripadvisor, are becoming greater and greater influences on the perception of trustworthiness among small businesses. Doing what you can to encourage and cultivate a positive customer feedback flow for your small business will go a long way to establishing your status as a trusted entity.