Our trust in the internet is changing, is your brand ready to stand out?

Our trust in the internet is changing, is your brand ready to stand out?

Who do you trust? Your spouse? Your best friend? Facebook? Your bank’s app or your health insurance website? Be honest – do you ever worry about typing your password on a login screen or clicking a link in your email but you do it anyway?

The very word ‘trust’ doesn’t mean what it used to. Trust was a sacred bond between you and another person or a company. Now, it’s nothing more than a niggle in the back of brains when you’re typing your password into a login screen or clicking a link in your email.

How did this happen? According to the experts in a recent Pew Research Center study, the internet is forcing us to redefine the definition of trust and that’s both a good and a bad thing.

Pew got hold of more than 1,000 experts to ask them their thoughts about the future of the internet and more specifically – our ability to trust the internet with our personal data.

48% of respondents said that in the next ten years, our trust in the internet will be strengthened. That sounds terrific, until you dig a bit deeper into their answers.

Some experts said this increase in trust will be well-deserved because online companies will be forced to invest in new technology that will make transactions more secure so they don’t lose customers.

But a “significant share” of respondents said that the future us will simply delude ourselves into believing a site is trustworthy because it’s more convenient to do so.

Quoting an anonymous chief marketing officer:

“The trust train has left the station, continues to gain speed, and shows very little chance of slowing down. As mobile payment technology proliferates, from our phones to our watches to our Internet of Things devices, and as digital natives continue to grow in their share of the world’s economic power, concerns about trust in online interactions will seem antiquated and quaint. Breaches may continue and even proliferate, but the technologies will be so embedded in our lives that they will be considered a mere inconvenient side effect of progress.”

Think about it: would a data breach stop you from shopping on Amazon? Would having your credit card hacked stop you from banking online?  Would having your identity stolen stop you from posting on Facebook?

If you’re over 40 in 2017 – any one of those might give you pause. If you’re 22 in 2030 – it’s just the chance you take. You deal with it and move on.

Now, all of this might sound like good news for online businesses. Trust is a huge part of your company’s reputation; if trust no longer matters then you’re home free.

Is that really how you want people to see your business – as a necessary evil? The cell phone company that they hate but stick with because it’s too much trouble to switch?

It’s time to turn this ship around. The more customers become blasé about online security, the more vigilant you must become. When they accept shoddy workmanship, late deliveries and poor customer service as “just how it is”; you have to fight back with quality goods, fast deliveries and exceptional service. That’s how you go from being “worth the risk” to being a safe port in big, scary, dangerous sea.

Journalism professor Jeff Jarvis says;

“To believe that our trust in technology will be diminished is to believe that we are powerless against it – and I do not believe that. We have many tools at hand to govern our own use of technology – norms, laws, regulation, the market – and we are using them. . . . So it is important for the technologists to do a better job of acknowledging and addressing what could go wrong and of exploring and promoting what could go right. It is important for other institutions – government, media, education – to help explore the opportunities, if for no other reason than to remain competitive in the world. We’re smart. We’ll figure it out. We always have, eventually.”

Eventually, starts right now. What changes can you implement before the end of the year that will increase customer trust in your business?