Jun 15, 2022 - Economy

Business leaders mistakenly think their customers "highly trust" them

Illustration of a hand in a suit making the scouts honor sign

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Customers have a lot less faith in companies than executives think they have.

Driving the news: 87% of business leaders "think customers highly trust their companies," but only 30% of consumers actually do, according to a new survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

  • Recent price spikes have had a deleterious effect on people's trust in companies — in part because companies aren't doing a good job overall of explaining their pricing decisions, PwC U.S. chairman Tim Ryan tells Axios.
  • "It calls for a different way of thinking ... around transparency," Ryan says.

Threat level: 71% of consumers say "they’re unlikely to buy from a company if it loses their trust," PwC reports.

  • Customers say their top "trust drivers" are affordable products and services (34%) and companies treating their employees well (33%).

Yes, but: Employees are much more likely than customers to trust their companies.

  • 69% of employees say they "highly trust" their employer, PwC found.
  • "Employers are connecting with their employees" better than they're connecting with customers, Ryan says. "They have more opportunity to communicate."

Related: The 2022 Axios Harris Poll 100 reputation rankings.

Editor’s note: This final quote from PwC U.S. chairman Tim Ryan has been corrected. The original publication mistakenly said “employees” are connecting with their “employers” better than with customers.

Go deeper