Britain Thinks: Trust matters in tough times

Deborah Mattinson

As the recession bites, we all trust a little bit less. That's why it's more important than ever to really walk in your customers' shoes.

In a recent qualitative group discussion held in Harlow, Essex, young single mum Sam struggled to fight back tears as she described how tough it was to get through the month financially. Her wages had been frozen for three years, but gas, electricity, petrol and food seemed to rise relentlessly.

"I don't know where to turn," she said. "I lie awake and worry every night. I just don't know what I'm going to do."

Sam feels alone but hers is a common enough experience. In polls, the economy dominates everyone's 'issues of concern' nowadays. A recent survey exploring people's views of their own future prospects found that 65% agreed that they were 'worried that people like them' would not have enough money to get through the month, 59% feared losing their job and a massive 42% feared losing their home. Eleven per cent confirm that their wages have gone down in the past few months, and as many as 8% have recently defaulted on a major loan or their mortgage.