More About Trust

William H. Bleuel, PhD
William H. Bleuel, PhD

Two professors from ESCP Europe Business School have published a comprehensive review of the business and academic literature along with a survey of 2,000 consumers in the U.S. and the U.K. Their findings are worth taking some time to report and interpret. The title of their report is “The Role of Trust in Consumer Relationships.”

Their research focused on banking, insurance, and mobile phone network companies and included interviews with executives in these businesses.

As a beginning consider some of the statistics they uncovered:

  • 32% of consumers trust international companies and 13% trust advertising compared to 48% trusting their friends, work colleagues or neighbors.
  • 90% of consumers trusted recommendations from friends and 70% trusted consumer opinions posted online.
  • The Edelman trust indices show that banking, media, and insurance organizations score 21%, 23% and 41% respectively compared with 74% for technology and 57% for retail.

The bottom line is that customer relationship management has been centered on one or one too many interactions with customers. This has changed with the digital communications media which now provides multi-channel relationship management. Companies can no longer afford to manage all the possible media that is available to their customers. Thus, trust appears to be gaining in importance as a way of building trust-based relationships that transcend the multi-channel media.


William H. Bleuel, PhD, is a professor of decision sciences at the Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University. He specializes in the measurement and analysis of operations, customer satisfaction, customer loyalty and customer retention. He has held senior positions in engineering, marketing, and service management at Xerox, Taylor Instrument Company, and Barber Colman Company. Dr. Bleuel has also had experience as general manager in two start-up companies that he co-founded. His most recent textbook, After the Sale, was published in 2000. He has been the Franz Edelman Award winner for The Institute of Management Sciences, he received the Armitage Medal from the Society of Logistics Engineers, and the Patton Publication Award. He became a Luckman Distinguished Teaching Fellow at Pepperdine in 1996.

This post was originally published on Dr. Bleuel’s blog, The Customer Institute.

Author of the article
Bill Bleuel, PhD, Professor of Decision Sciences
Bill Bleuel, PhD, Professor of Decision Sciences
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