Trust is the only true currency in your business.
Trust, not money is the currency of life. Since the day we were born Trust has been the building block to every relationship, we have ever had and will continue to be long into the future. Over the last few years, we have seen trust constructs slowly shifting from in-person relationships to digital connections, which has sparked a new digital economy. As the importance of this new digital economy grows so does the need for building trust with employees and customers.
When a business gains the trust of its employees, they tend to become more creative, motivated and productive. Customers who trust you will be happy to pay more for your services/products, tell others to work with you and more importantly they will come back to buy from you again.
According to a recent survey by conducted Forbes over 45% of executives believe the digital economy will impact over 50% of their sales by 2020. With figures like these expected less than 3 years away is this something you really want to leave to chance?
Without looking to build trust between your business, employees and customers, you may unintentionally create an environment which inspires, fear and suspicion.
The High Cost of Suspicion
Scepticism is the enemy of trust, destroying motivation, teamwork, and results, scepticism brings everything into question, slows processes, and promotes suspicion. The global climate has been saturated with suspicion. With insurance scandals, the banking meltdown, financial fraud, food contaminations, and athletes hiding drug use. It is really any wonder that suspicion is soaring.
And with everything, there is a cost.
Taking the automotive industry as a quick example. A study of over 400 relationships between the buyers and suppliers of automakers who dealt in Japan, South Korea, and the United States observed the economic value of trust.
The results of the research found that transaction costs were five times higher with the least trusted supplier when compared to the most trusted supplier.
With suppliers, who were trusted the least, the research found that face-to-face time doubled. As a result, more time and resources were spent on communication, negotiation, and compliance. Compared to suppliers that were highly trusted, where information flowed more quickly leading to lowers cost for everyone involved.
Building trust from the start
As the digital economy continues to grow, every business should be asking themselves; “How can we create a trusting environment in this new digital economy?”
Start with your employees. If you want your customers to able to trust you, you have to start off by trusting your employees. Building trust starting with your employees leads to a compassionate environment. When compassion can be defined as “a response to the suffering of others that motivates a desire to help them” and everyone is biologically wired for compassion, everyone will benefit with this type of environment in place.
With this compassionate environment in place, genuine, engaging customer relationships which are built on authentic connections leading to an atmosphere of innovation and momentum for employees.
Offering the added benefit of a genuinely healthy environment, companies that switch to the currency of trust will see 50% less turnover than their industry peers. Employees who trust their colleagues are 31% more likely to love their jobs, leading to happier customers.
These changes are even more visible on the macro level. The rise of Lyft, Uber, Airbnb, etc. shows us that anyone can sell and anyone can buy. Everyone can voice their opinion, and someone will always listen. Recent events with Pepsi and United Airlines shows that now more than ever, for business, whether it is with employees or with customers, building and maintaining trust is key.
In the digital age, everything has changed, research has shown that peer to peer influence is more potent, the distrust in the general populace is growing and culminating in dissatisfaction and urgency.
The digitalisation of information is at the forefront of the news. Thanks to Social Media it is becoming the source of the news.
Changes in trust models, have lead to changes in the political environment just look at Brexit and President Trump. To continue doing business in this shifting milieu, will require companies to shift their focus to building trust.
Trust is key. Creating a compassionate and safe environment for your employees, Customers and Supplier will lead to competitive advantages. Deciding whether to build trust on the macro or micro level requires everyone to act in a way that provides your customers, and employees clear reason to trust your organisation. The days of unconditional loyalty from customers and employees are dead.
If you take one thing away from this post it should that you make conscious effort to make every engagement with both your employees and customers a strong one. This will give you a base to grow from allowing your stakeholders to keep coming back for more.