Thanks to its consistently high customer service, reliability, wide assortment and speedy delivery, Amazon earned the highest score on the 2017 National Most Trustworthy Brands Survey from market research firm The Values Institute. Amazon got high marks for meeting customers’ expectations for quality, sometimes actually surprising them with how quickly their orders arrive — what the authors termed a measure of competence, according to the report. Costco came in second among retailers in the review.
A measure of “joy,” which includes loyalty, satisfaction and trust, also favored Amazon, which beat out corporations in other markets besides retail. The report authors said Amazon’s wide assortment and customer service helped earn it high markers in trust-related values.
Finally, when it comes to “concern, candor and connection,” Amazon wins its customers over by helping with purchase decisions using past purchase data and user reviews, the report's authors said. “Amazon also provides its consumers with several options for forging a personal bond with the Amazon brand, including user profiles, reviews and ratings, and wish lists (both public and private).”
Amazon is demonstrating how e-commerce can foster connection, and the e-retailer is scoring well with all demographics.
Because traditional retailers can deploy trained staff to help customers — and shoppers can see and touch actual merchandise in stores — e-commerce has a disadvantage when it comes to forging connections and trust with customers, other research has found. But Amazon, with a matrix of customer-forward policies that are consistent and reliable, has nevertheless captured the trust among customers of all ages and genders.
The e-commerce giant was rated highest by both males and females in nearly every age bracket, including shoppers who self-identified as between 34 and 54 (Gen Xer) and 55-plus years old. Millennials gave their highest trust marks to Marriott Hotels, though it was really a statistical tie, according to the report.
But it’s Amazon that is overshadowing all others when it comes to consumer trust and even joy. "Amazon’s success in the joy categories is effectively the holy grail of brand ambassadorship," Jason Teven, a professor of human communication studies and director of the Center for Brand Values Communication and Research at California State University, Fullerton, said in a statement. "That’s because satisfied customers are much more likely to advocate for the brand they love, their products, services and website."
In all, The Values Institute together with the university's CBVCR surveyed 1,434 U.S. adults in the first quarter of 2017. The report includes the scores of 40 major brands in fast food, airlines, mobile services, auto insurance, retail, hotels and electronics. In addition to Amazon, brands receiving most-trustworthy honors include Subway (fast food), Microsoft (electronics), Southwest (airlines), Marriott (Hotels), AT&T (mobile services) and Geico (auto insurance).