Trust is becoming increasingly scarce. People use what they don’t trust because it is simple and convenient.

You would assume that with increased trust comes increased use, but that’s not always the case. While people like to talk a lot about how much trust matters to them, what they end up using is often not the thing they trust most. Simplicity and convenience are often more important to people than trust.

“Consumers care more about ease of use than trustworthiness when it comes to looking up health information online,” according to a Makovsky survey published in March 2016. “Although 59 percent of respondents said they trust health information that comes from advocacy group websites, just 16 percent said they use these websites to find health information online. This is because although advocacy groups are a trustworthy source, just 29 percent of consumers said they typically find their websites easy to use.”

On the other hand, the survey pointed out that while only 39 percent of people said they trusted WebMD, 53 percent said they used it because, as they explained, it was easy to use.

A survey published in January 2016 by Prophet found that consumers didn’t trust either Facebook or Google very much. Yet, these are brands that millions and millions of people use every day.

According to the Makovsky health survey, while “95 percent of consumers said doctors were the most trusted source for information,” 62 percent of them go online after a doctor’s visit to check up on what they’re been prescribed, and 53 percent will search for alternative treatments.

Learning Opportunities

Today, trust is being continuously undermined. It seems that not a week goes by that we don’t read about a politician, sports star, charity or brand that has done something untrustworthy. The ‘establishment,’ the elite, the experts are viewed with increasing suspicion by a growing number of people. Part of the reason is that while the great majority see their living standards stagnate or decline, a tiny elite has never had it so good.

The age of blind trust in the establishment is over. We are increasingly less willing to be guided and led by the ‘experts.’ If we trust anybody, we trust ourselves and people like us. That, of course, is not always a good thing. A new tribalism is sweeping the world. The stranger, the outsider, the other is someone we less and less want to keep company with.

I don’t trust Google. I don’t even use Facebook. I use Google a lot, but the day it stops being useful is the day I’ll leave. I have no loyalty to brands because I know they have zero loyalty to me. It would be nice if it were otherwise, but we must live in the real world.

And the real world is the world where we use things that are simple and easy to use. We use what’s convenient and what gets us where we need to get to, and when it stops doing that, we stop using it. If an organization is not useful, convenient and simple, its future looks bleak.

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