Research can tell us a lot about trust. While undoubtedly less concrete than metrics such as conversions, clicks and views, research shows us how the public positively responds to certain actions and characteristics. Using research to determine what companies, professions and industries are trusted can provide a roadmap for building trust in a variety of ways.
For instance, research shows us that certain professions are more trusted than others. Both at the national level and globally, some professions are consistently viewed more positively by the majority of people. When looking at the research of most trusted professions, certain patterns emerge. There are clear traits possessed by trusted professions compared to those at the opposite end of the spectrum.
Want to earn the trust of others? Here are qualities possessed by the best-of-the-best in trustworthy professions that can be adapted to virtually any industry.
Healthcare Providers: Expertise, Ethics and Emotional Intelligence
With only one exception, nurses have ranked as the most trusted profession in the United States in annual surveys for the past two decades. Nurses top the list in the United Kingdom, and rank second in both Canada and Germany. And in a global study by the World Economic Forum, doctors were determined to be the worldwide most trusted profession.
There is little wonder why these healthcare providers ranked so highly on trust indexes. Both doctors and nurses adhere to a professional code of ethics, they possess the knowledge to help their clients (in this case, patients) and demonstrate the emotional intelligence to apply their skillset in a culturally sensitive and individually tailored way.
This is something every industry, organization and individual can learn from. Knowledge and expertise are necessary, but trust is earned when expertise is ethically delivered with emotional intelligence.
Teachers: Education for Education’s Sake
It’s patently obvious that teachers educate others. Their clients are students who benefit from a teacher’s ability to impart knowledge and experience in a clearly understood way. In this case, what makes teachers so trustworthy is right there in the name.
There’s a bit more to it, though. In some way, virtually every profession provides a level of education to their clients. Advertisers educate audiences on product details, car salespersons educate customers on vehicle prices and features, and politicians teach constituents about civics and law. Yet each of these professions rank at the very bottom of trust indexes. Teachers approach education a little bit differently: they teach with no strings attached.
The lesson to be learned from teachers is that audiences find education without agenda or judgement to be most worthy of trust. When education is believed to be flawed or polluted by bias, trust is lost.
Firefighters: Be Brave. Be Bold.
It takes a special kind of person to be able to risk their own safety to help others. Firefighters are known for responding in moments of crisis to help communities. And while the average office worker may feel like they’re regularly putting out fires of a metaphoric variety, firefighters literally run toward dangers when others run away.
Research of trust shows us that firefighters are seen as bold and brave, and that’s a lesson that can be applied broadly. Whether you’re planning to launch into a new region or engage with customers by advocating for a certain cause, people respond best to companies who boldly pick a stand and stick with it.
So how does your role and your industry rank in trust? Your individual role and industry do not determine your trust. Take these 4 tips to bolster your own trust with your clients and partners.