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Confidence Problems

To succeed for the long-term in any industry, a business has to earn its customers trust. Winning customer confidence is especially important in an industry like technology where any investment is essentially an invesment in the future. Companies buy hardware expecting to use it for years on end; sign long-term software licensing deals assured that the software maker will be around to support it; and look for technology suppliers who can deliver the services they need to run their businesses. So naturally, enterprises look for vendors that exhibit the technical superiority, innovativeness, and level of customer support necessary to produce exceptional technology. But companies also look for a vendor they can trust - one that demonstrates integrity, consistency, and dependability.In its recent annual survey of consumers' trust in electronics and technology vendors, respondents ranked Bose, Dell, and Apple Computer as the most trusted brands. Perhaps, it isn't all that surprising to see Microsoft, the company legendary for its consistency - of product delays - bringing up the rear.

Forrester Analyst Ted Schadler said that the survey reflects a consistent drop in consumer confidence levels in technology and electronics brands. Whether this maps entirely to what is happening in the enterprise space is unclear but it is certainly worth watching.