Trust is a fundamental aspect of any relationship, as every decision is based on trust. While the principles of trust, such as credibility, reliability, and intimacy, remain unchanged, the world around us has undergone significant changes, particularly in the business world, due to the impact of technology.
In the digital age, access to information and increased connectivity have made it easier for businesses to collaborate and share resources, but have also made companies more accountable to consumers who expect transparency and social responsibility. The increased competition from technology has made it essential for businesses to build trust and loyalty with their clients to remain relevant. Leadership in today's world has also changed, as it is no longer a top-down approach, but instead, requires collaboration and the distribution of responsibility among all employees.
So, how can businesses adapt to these changes in order to build trusting relationships with their customers?
Trust Has Not Changed
As Charles Green puts it, trust has been founded on principles of credibility, reliability, and intimacy. However, if you act self-interested, your trustworthiness will decrease.
Credibility is all about our words. It is about how knowledgeable we are about our client’s business, problems, and industry— expertise is invaluable to you and your client.
Reliability refers to us following through on our actions. It is one thing to say, “I’ll be able to raise your revenue by 10%,” but it is another thing to do it. If you say you will call your client back, do it. Your client will feel respected and valued, which leads to trust.
Lastly, intimacy deals with your ability to the security that your client feels around you when disclosing private information about their company; do not betray your client and keep everything confidential to build trust.
But, if the principles of trust have not changed, what has?
Technology has had a massive impact on the business world. Instead of waiting around for the morning news or day-old papers, people have access to Google at the touch of a button. News is reported almost instantaneously, stocks change their value in real-time, and connectivity has rapidly increased. In many ways, life has gotten easier with technology. Businesses are able to be more collaborative and inter-connected. We are able to share resources with other people that could greatly benefit our businesses and communicate potential problems to look out for. Through technology, we are able to create global communities of knowledge that we would not otherwise have.
Technology also holds us accountable. Think of how many scandals large corporations have had, such as Facebook’s data leaks, Amazon’s treatment of employees, and Gap’s greenwashing. People now are able to see the positives and negatives of a company and decide whether to support them or not because consumers expect social values to be upheld. Therefore, companies have to be more transparent, or the world will eventually figure out its secrets and react accordingly.
Technology is also more efficient. Gone are the days of entering data points one by one— Excel can do it in seconds. Additionally, AI can take over jobs that are tedious to do and do them perfectly. While these technologies can be expensive to invest in, your ROI will likely be greater in the future.
Lastly, technology creates more competition. With people able to read reviews online and see multiple businesses able to fit their needs, competition increases. Unless you retain a client through becoming a trusted advisor, they can easily find another company that will produce the same results. Unfortunately, technology can make your business dispensable, so make sure you are building trust and loyalty with your clients.
Trust and leadership go hand in hand. You have to trust your team to uplift you and count on them to help you reach your goals. Moreover, you want every employee, no matter who is the boss, manager, or CEO, to be highly engaged. This will create an environment where enthusiasm, efficiency, and proficiency are valued and commonplace, ultimately evolving leadership into something everyone desire to partake in. Ultimately, leadership is no longer employees following orders; the top-down approach is not as effective as collaboration and the distribution of responsibility in most organizations. In a way, everyone is a leader in today’s world.
The digital age has made building trust and loyalty with clients more important than ever for businesses to remain relevant, and requires a collaborative leadership approach to adapt to the changes brought about by technology and increased consumer accountability.
How has trust changed in your organization or lifetime? Let us know below! After that, follow us on Linkedin at “Encompass=CX” for more updates and blog posts.