How to build trust with customers?

Marc Benioff

Marc Benioff, Salesforce CEO, stated: “…trust has to be the highest value in your company, and if it’s not something bad is going to happen to you. It’s a culture issue. What is the most important thing in your company – is it trust or is it growth? If anything trumps trust, we are in trouble…You have to choose what is really important to you. We are in a new world… and trust better be number one.”

Trust is a value every company must offer if it wants long term success. Without trust it is not possible to grow. Younger customers are more interested in WHY the company is doing something, rather than WHAT it is doing. This question will either result in trust or lack of. And without trust no other values will be accepted. So how can a company build trust with customers?

Share information on your own initiative. In the olden days companies shared only what they needed, when they were asked by customers, or forced. Today, companies must share as much as they can, before they are asked or forced. Informing should be like breathing, a constant activity.

Admit errors openly. Everyone makes mistakes. When you do, be brave and admit them, inform everyone, especially those who might be hurt, and cover the damages. Making errors is acceptable, covering them up and not taking responsibility is not. Errors do not ruin trust, lying about them does. Also, by admitting errors you will make your weakness into a strength.

Trust others. If you want to be trusted then you must trust others. Invest in projects which are riskier and not directly related to sales. Making riskier choices will make it clear to customers that the relationship with these third parties is not based on calculated benefits but on trust.

Be objective. If you have to make a hard decision make sure it is based on hard data and logic. Hard decisions must be faced directly and openly, but they should never appear to be based on bad decision processes and poor data.

Recognize all customers, not only the shareholders. Do not operate only to increase the profit, but also to improve work and life of employees, and all third parties. Not all projects should be focused on profit, and this is actually the most profitable strategy you can adopt.

PS I do not usually promote competitors, but when I do I really appreciate what they say.

Written by: Nikola Tosic
Publishing date: 5 Oct 2019