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Building consumer trust essential
By Carol Wilson

Jun 19, 2007 12:00 AM

As consumers increasingly seek direct access to content, service providers will only stay relevant if they build a relationship of trust and deliver products that are simple to use but embrace freedom and mobility, Dan Yost, executive vice president of Qwest, said Monday.

Speaking at the IEC Conference held in conjunction with NXTcomm, Yost, who heads product developing and pricing for Qwest, said the ever- flattening distribution model has already eliminated some content distributors, including music stories and video rentals, as consumers go directly to the sources of content such as broadcasters’ Web sites and online music distributors.

“There is a massive movement to online distribution,” said Yost, who cited his own use of a SlingBox and a cell phone to watch quarterback Tony Roma fall just short of the winning touchdown as the Dallas Cowboys were eliminated from last season’s NFL playoffs. “We’ve gone from a distribution model of one to a few relationships to one to an infinite number of relationships.”

The shifting business models mean “there is no clear cut and definitive approach” for service providers when companies such as Apple and Microsoft are vying to be the hub of content distribution, Yost said. What makes the most sense, he said, is to “leverage a trusted relationship with the consumer.”

Consumers must see their service provider as a trusted source of content and must believe that service providers can meet 100% of their needs and, in addition, help them sort through what can be a confusing array of options, Yost said. “Consumers want choice, but they can be overwhelmed. We need to make it easy for them,” he said. Service providers should now offer “easy, predictable, intuitive ways” to access content.”

In addition to trust and simplicity, a service provider must also be able to evolve its own service to meet new needs such as mobility. “Freedom is key; consumers want to be free to access content when, where and how they choose,” he said.

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