Want to Build More TRUST – Build a Better JOURNEY

trust

 

Being well entrenched in the Digital/Internet Revolution we are in today, one thing has become more important and paramount than ever before in history... TRUST. The other name for this period of time we are in is "The Customer Revolution"... and for the same reasons. If your customers don't trust you, you are at high risk of extinction in the not too distant future.

TRUST has become the ultimate prize for businesses today. If your customers trust you, they are choosing to work with you over anyone else in your industry... even if they have to pay a higher price. And one of the biggest reasons Trust is so critical to people is because of TIME. As I have talked about in several earlier posts, Time is the most valuable asset for people today (according to Forrester Research and others). People don't feel they have enough of it and they can't afford to waste it. Those that can help them keep more of their time are more trusted and become the winners in the new Revolution.

If your customers Trust you, they don't have to spend the time searching around and checking out other options... they can simply buy from you. And they are proving this by their willingness to pay more for the same products/services. This is a HUGE COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE for businesses today.

But how do you create more trust with your customers?

The underlying core of this answer is very simple... yet many businesses seem to ignore this simple message. The underlying foundation of Trust is PROMISES MADE = PROMISES KEPT. While this is an easy concept to grasp and understand, it appears to be an incredibly difficult formula to execute on a consistent basis throughout one's business. I refer to this often as playing the "Whack-a-Mole" game... where you have a bunch of holes in front of you and a different mole pops up randomly out of each hole... when you hit one, another one pops up. This is the same situation many companies face on a daily basis... having several things under control but another one pops up for you to deal with.

This isn't any more evident than in the area of CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE. One of the biggest challenges businesses face today is delivering a CONSISTENT AND REPEATABLE customer experience. Look at your own business and you can see exactly what I am talking about. There are areas that seem to be doing OK and areas that area a disaster when it comes to delivering an awesome, incredible, amazing experience. I can almost guarantee you that there isn't consistency in your customer experience throughout your company... and if there is, you are in a very small minority today.

The CUSTOMER JOURNEY is the collection of customer experiences throughout your company... all working together to deliver an "overall experience" to your customers. The Journey is the "sum of all experiences" you offer to your customers. This includes the experience from your call center, sales, accounting, shipping, marketing, distribution, and every other area of your business. The customer touches each of these areas to some degree at one point or another throughout their overall experience with you when purchasing and/or using your products/services.

So here's the big problem for the majority of companies and why TRUST becomes an issue.

There are usually areas in your business that do better than others when delivering a customer experience. Some might knock it out of the park where others cause great pain for your customers. A good example of this is the Sales group vs. the Accounting group. The Sales department is usually the most "customer centric" in how they treat their customers... it is usually required as part of their role. Accounting, on the other hand, probably doesn't even have it as part of their job description/processes. Their role is to get the bills out, pay the invoices, and make sure all the money is accounted for within the company. Providing an awesome and incredible experience to the customer when they call isn't probably high on their list even though it should be. Regardless of how they treat the customer, they are part of the CUSTOMER JOURNEY inside your company.

When you deliver an awesome and incredible and remarkable CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE... demonstrating how much you care about helping your customers... you build TRUST. When you don't deliver this level of an experience you erode the trust you have with your customer or don't establish any if it is the first interaction.

And when you make PROMISES to your customers through your marketing and advertising, in addition to what your employees tell your customers... and you don't keep them... you lose/erode TRUST. When this happens over and over, your customers lose TRUST IN EVERYTHING YOU DO... not just the few areas that are causing the issue. To the customer, it is a JOURNEY OF TRUST.

Customers don't segregate out the departments in your business... they view their entire experience as a Journey. When different departments don't deliver this incredible experience and don't keep their promises the customer simply says, "They promise things they can't or won't deliver... I don't trust them or anything they say or do." This is even the case when you have one or two departments delivering a experience. The ones that aren't delivering this experience are the ones that bring the company down to the lowest common denominator... a low level of trust for the entire Customer Journey.

If you want to INCREASE THE TRUST OF YOUR COMPANY, YOU HAVE TO DELIVER ON YOUR PROMISES AND DELIVER AN AWESOME CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE THROUGHOUT THE COMPANY. This is the core behind building trust with your customers.

Change the JOURNEY to one where every area of the company is honoring and delivering the promises they make and give your customers a WOW Customer Experience and you will change the level of TRUST. The concept is simple... the execution isn't. If it was, everyone would be doing it. The research wouldn't be telling us that customers don't feel they get an awesome experience. The customer is telling us loud and clear what the answer is to EARNING THEIR TRUST... the question is whether or not we will listen and change our CUSTOMER JOURNEY to one that creates TRUST rather than erodes it.

I would encourage every leader to take inventory of their company's customer experience and how consistently they are delivering on the Promises the employees are making every day. If the experience isn't awesome and you see promises being made that can't be delivered, you have your answer as to how much your customers really trust your organization. This is one of the most valuable "audits" of an organization a leadership team can do to truly understand the level of trust they have with their customers. Give me a call if you have any questions and I would be happy to steer you in the right direction.

Author:  Blaine Millet

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We used to get excited about moving our companies from being GOOD to being GREAT... but today, being GREAT isn't good enough... it's a commodity. Today, if you aren't on a path to move your company from being GREAT to being REMARKABLE and MEMORABLE, you don't get talked about.
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