Do retailers need to add chief trust officers?
Cisco, SAP and Salesforce have all added a chief trust officer (CTrO) to their c-suite as the digital economy has elevated the importance of trust. Should retailers follow?
Some see the CTrO as a next step for the CISO (chief information security officer) role — tackling customer-facing responses to breaches, navigating third-party risk management and mitigating privacy concerns. Others see the role extending to digital trust overall, including battling online toxicity (i.e., harassment, hate speech) as well as ensuring inclusive online content, responsible use of artificial intelligence (AI), and safety and equity in virtual communities. Still others believe the CTrO should broadly cover brand reputation across key stakeholders — customers, employees, third parties and shareholders — given the increasing importance of trust.
PwC’s “2022 Consumer Intelligence Series Survey on Trust” found that 87 percent of business executives think consumers have a high level of trust in their business, but only 30 percent of consumers say they do. The survey found 71 percent of consumers are unlikely to buy if a company loses their trust. The same 71 percent of employees indicated they would leave if their employer loses their trust.
A Deloitte survey of over 260 c-suite executives taken in mid-September found 61.3 percent saying their organizations will work to improve trust levels with key stakeholders in the next year, but that only 2.7 percent have a CTrO and that 16.3 percent have a C-suite executive overseeing trust efforts. For the coming year, another 3.4 percent plan to establish a CTrO role and eight percent plan to assign a leader — C-suite or otherwise — to oversee trust.
A majority of respondents to the Deloitte survey (55 percent) have no current trust tracking in place, although nearly 19.6 percent of those respondents plan to add such measures in the next 12 months.
A survey of just over 1,000 U.S. consumers by Clarify Capital found 55 percent seeing Amazon.com as trustworthy, making the platform the most trusted brand across industries. Trust levels for other major retailers included Walmart, 44 percent; Target, 36 percent; and Macy’s, Albertsons and Lowe’s, all at 22 percent.
The survey wasn’t able to sum up overriding factors determining what makes a business trustworthy. Some included delivering on promises, listening and acting on feedback and treating employees well.
- Trust: the new currency for business – PWC
- Many C-suite Executives Say Their Organizations Want to Build Trust in Year Ahead, Yet Few Have Leadership and Tracking Capabilities in Place – Deloitte/PRNewswire
- The Chief Trust Officer Role Can Be the Next Career Step for CISOs – Information Week
- The next C-Suite role that every company needs: Chief Trust Officer – World Economic Forum
- Make Room For The Chief Trust Officer In The C-Suite – Forbes
- Six ways to prioritize the trust agenda now – Ernst & Young
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do retailers need a chief trust officer or to put a c-level exec in charge of trust? Should cybersecurity and data privacy be the primary focus around trust issues or do you see a broader responsibility over brand reputation?