The landscape of today's marketplace has changed dramatically. With more and more products becoming commodities, having a great product is not always enough to get your product/service off the ground. Differntiating yourself means creating a superior experience around your product/service. Trust is the #1 component to building that relationship. Without trust, your business has little value.
You may be thinking that trust has always been important and I think to a certain extent that it has. In today's information society with tons of information at people's fingertips in a matter of seconds, your reputation needs to be solid. In the past it was much easier to fake certain things and not worry about every little customer issue that you had because chances are, very few people would hear about it.
Beyond your reputation, the other reason I feel that trust is so important is due to the change of society from an idealist perspective to a civic perspective. Look at the following points made by Roy Williams from Wizard Academy and see if you recognize this happening.
- Authenticity is essential: People today want authenticity in the interactions that they encounter that means being “real” about your product. Roy states; When selling, remember: If you don’t admit the downside, they won’t believe the upside.
- A Horizontal Connectedness- Look for people to belong to something versus standing on their own. You will see a rise in many civic organizations.
- Word-of-Mouth is the new Mass Media: For reasons stated above this is important. People have access to each other more than ever. If you aren't bringing your best foot forward, people will hear about it.
The above list all point to trust. If you aren't authentic, people will be able to read it and therefore will not do business with you. The more you establish yourself as unreliable and untrustworthy the more people will avoid working with you and the more you will receive negative reactions from the public about what your product/service can offer to the marketplace. So what can we do to keep this from happening?
Stephen M.R. Covey recently wrote a great book on the topic of trust titled, The Speed of Trust. In an interview, Stephen talks about what organizations can do to establish trust. Some of his tips are to share information openly, tolerate mistakes and turn them into learning experiences, people talk straight and confront real issues and transparency is a practiced value. Do you see a trend here?
The only way your organization will be able to create value in the marketplace is through the building of trust, inside your organization as well as outside to the public. In order to do that, trust must be placed at a premium and your processes should be geared toward building that trust for your business to have true and lasting value.
What experiences have you had good or bad with regards to trust in your organization? Do you agree with the new civic landscape? I would love to hear about your examples in the real world.