Your New Year’s resolution: Trust no one

Tom Wang/Shutterstock
Tom Wang/Shutterstock
With the irrational holiday shopping season now in your rear-view mirror, this is a good time to consider how you feel about the companies to which you’ve just given half your life savings.

Maybe you don’t trust them. Maybe you don’t believe anything their executives say.

Maybe that’s a good thing.

I was reminded of how little customers trust companies when I participated in a recent panel discussion at a public relations conference in Miami. The panel host, from the PR agency Edelman, had released a survey that suggested only 15 percent of American consumers trust the words that come from an executive’s mouth. Only half trust business as an institution.

Other polls, I was not surprised to learn, put the trust figures in the single digits.
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5 times customers should say “sorry”

Raywoo/Shutterstock
Raywoo/Shutterstock
Ever apologized to a business? If you said “never,” then maybe you don’t have kids.

At some point, each of my children has slipped a candy bar or lollipop — strategically stocked at kid-level in the checkout area — into their pockets without first informing Mom or Dad. When we discovered the transgression, we raced back to the store, paid for the item and apologized. Profusely.

Then we gave the kids a stern lecture about paying for merchandise before leaving the store. We haven’t had any relapses, but then again, the teen years are just around the corner. Fingers crossed.

I hear a lot of apologies in my line of work. But as a consumer advocate, they almost always go one way: the company apologizes to a customer for a problem, actual or perceived. Sometimes, the tables should be turned.
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Two terrific ideas that will help customers, and maybe, you

Ideas for new businesses are a dime a dozen, but here are two that crossed my desk in the last week that deserve some attention.

They could help customers everywhere — and if you’re an entrepreneur, maybe they could help you make a little money.

If I had the bandwidth, I’d be writing a business plan now. But if you agree with me, and you want to take one of these concepts to the next level, please let me know.
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