3 steps to earning skeptical pet owners’ trust

Pet food buyers’ may have become jaded and skeptical over the past several decades, as violations of the public trust by government, business, religious and other institutions became more visible.

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(Photprint | iStock.com)
(Photprint | iStock.com)

Pet food buyers’ may have become jaded and skeptical over the past several decades, as violations of the public trust by government, business, religious and other institutions became more visible. Roxi Beck, speaker with The Center for Food Integrity, shared that insight with the Association of American Feed Control Officials, reported David Dzanis, PhD, DVM, in his Petfood Industry column “Petfood Insights.”

These three steps can help a pet food company achieve dog, cat and other pet owners’ trust.

  1. Listening
  2. Inviting dialogue
  3. Sharing your side of the story

From Dzanis:

“The goal is not to listen just enough to formulate a response, but to listen with the goal of truly understanding the other person. The second step is to ask questions to invite more dialogue. In doing so, make sure the person appreciates that they have been heard and that you understand. This may take a number of back-and-forths.

“Only after all that is the third step; i.e., sharing your side of the story. Let them know who you are and what matters to you. Show them that what's important to them is what's important to you. Then, you can let them in on what you know in terms of the facts. Do not abandon science, but go easy on it. The goal is not to win the argument by superior knowledge, but to show the person that you are on their side...

"No matter what scientific credentials you present or what knowledge you convey, it will not gain the trust of the consumer unless first he/she feels that you have a connection; i.e., that you share the same values and concerns."

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