I’ve written about trust and the customer experience several times in the past, so imagine my curiosity when Forbes published their list of America’s 100 Most-Trustworthy Companies yesterday

Apparently this isn’t the first year for this list, but it’s the first time I’ve seen it – or perhaps the first time I’ve taken note of it. I decided to dig in to find out how 100 companies landed at the top of this list.

What exactly qualifies these companies as the most trustworthy?

Since you’re reading a blog about customer experience, you know where my thoughts will go in terms of qualifications. But let’s see what Forbes and GMI Ratings, the company behind the rankings, used to compile this list.

The first paragraph of the article states that, despite the fact that investors have lost faith in a lot of corporations, “many corporations are models of openness and integrity.”O really?

Here’s what the rankings are based on:

  • 60 different governance and forensic accounting measures
  • accounting transparency
  • lowest incidence of high-risk events
  • appropriate board supervision

In a nutshell, they say the ratings are based on the quality of corporate accounting and management practices.

I can’t argue with “transparent and conservative accounting practices and solid corporate governance and management,” as the article notes.  I’ve written about transparency before, so I’m on board with its importance in any organization. But I think transparent companies are open about more than just their financials; they’re also open about policies, pricing, support, social responsibility, products and product issues, hiring practices, and more.

Without a doubt, trustworthy companies should…

  • be transparent with their customers, not just for their shareholders
  • act with integrity not only in their financial practices but also when it comes to their customers and their employees
  • put employees and customers first, ahead of shareholders
  • act in the best interest of their customers and employees
  • be fair, reliable, and ethical in all practices, not just in financial or management practices
  • not take advantage of, or act opportunistically with, customer vulnerabilities
  • deliver predictable and consistent customer experiences

Can America’s 100 Most-Trustworthy Companies qualify for the list based on those criteria? What do you think?

Trust is like the air we breathe. When it’s present, nobody really notices. But when it’s absent, everybody notices. -Warren Buffet