Sep 26, 2018
Trustworthiness is a skill that can be learned. There are 8 principles at the heart of a customer’s decision to trust a company. Saying that, I will give you a caveat, for business leaders especially, customers don’t buy from companies they buy from people, so that is really important. -Natalie Doyle Oldield
The research I have done and validated over 7 years of testing through the scientific process in academia shows that there are 8 principles and when you learn these 8 principles and learn how to apply them in your business you will build trust, manage, or protect the trust you have with your customers.
Today's guest is Natalie Doyle Oldfield. She is a trust authority, consultant and keynote speaker who works with companies to grow their business and build customer loyalty and trust.
A former Chief Marketing Officer, she is the author of THE POWER OF TRUST: How Top Companies Build, Manage and Protect It, and creator of The Client Trust Index ™ and the online Becoming a Trusted Advisor program.
Natalie was named a 2018 and 2017 Top Thought Leader in Trust by Trust Across America.
Natalie talks about the power of trust and the 8 underlying principles at the heart of a customer's decision to trust a company.
This is definitely something that you have to tune in to.
Trustworthiness is a skill that can be learned.
In my research, what we found is that there are 8 principles at the heart of a customer’s decision to trust a company. Saying that, I will give you a caveat, for business leaders especially, customers don’t buy from companies they buy from people, so that is really important. Specifically from people who are informed, empowered, can solve customer problems and issues, and what I would suggest they are trusted advisers.
You can learn to build trust. Some people are more natural than others. The research I have done and validated over 7 years of testing through the scientific process in academia shows that there are 8 principles and when you learn these 8 principles and learn how to apply them in your business you will build trust, manage, or protect the trust you have with your customers.
These 8 principles are part of a model to build trust. On my paper, I am drawing a circle, in the middle of that circle, I am writing on my notepad the Customer Centered Trust Circle. Because for me, it all has to start with the customer.
When an organization starts with the culture of trust that’s focused on the customer, the organization has clearly articulated values, purpose, vision and mission. And I really believe that at the center of any organization’s focus and purpose should be a customer strategy. Every organization is created to serve a customer.
On another ring I will draw on that circle, is that the organization has the capabilities and competencies so they can do what they promised to do. The next ring is interactions, interactions with people. Trust, as you know, is at the basic quality and the heart of every human interaction. We know when it goes off or when it is damaged. Basically this ring is about how we communicate, how we behave and how we serve.
#1 – Listen carefully with empathy and compassion. Question and involve the customer and stakeholder in the dialogue.
Communication is the gateway to trust. Listening is the gateway to communication. Taking the time to listen to the customers and stakeholders without bias and without filter and demonstrating empathy and compassion and involving them in conversations that affect them is foundational to building and sustaining to trust.
#2 – Communicate using clear, concrete, conversational language
Clarity inspires trust and we feel confident when we understand what’s happening around us; when we don’t understand we tend to glaze over and when we glaze over we don’t understand oftentimes that means we don’t believe so that leads to distrust.
Confidence, clarity, simplicity inspire trust. I suggest to my clients that they communicate in simple, everyday language that customers and stakeholders understand.
Trusted advisers are often very good at describing issues in the customer’s terms and understanding the customer’s language.
#3 – Be honest and transparent. Honesty is always the best policy.
This one is proactively sharing and communicating as much relevant information that you can with your customers. One simple phrase that encourages trust is the simple but difficult admission of “I don’t know.” Trusted advisers acknowledge they don’t know every answer but when you do this that encourages confidence and humility which shows self-awareness so that’s one thing that builds trust. Nothing builds trust like the truth.
#4 – Being consistent, predictable and reliable.
What’s significant about this principle as it relates to selling is that when we combine when we combine consistency, predictable and reliable behavior, communication and how we serve it reduces risk and vulnerability. It’s a lot easier to buy from a person or a company or to support where we are not at risk. Customers don’t want to be at risk, they don’t want to be vulnerable. It’s extremely important for trusted advisers and for people who want to become a trusted adviser to really focus on being consistent in all their messages predictable and reliable. One way you could do this is to follow-up.
The one thing we want to do with building trust is it goes hand in hand with showing someone respect.
#5 – Act in the best interest of customers and stakeholders and the public.
This is where we get to the heart of intentions and motives. Your customer must believe that you are putting their interests first. Trust only succeeds when a customer’s expectation is met and motives are clear. We know as a customer when a company is doing the right thing for us when they are acting in our best interests. As an example, they might recommend another company’s product or services if they don’t think that they have the right solution for you.
#6 – Doing the right thing
When you make a mistake, fix it. Nothing’s gonna clearly project your values, integrity and ethics than doing the right thing. This is one thing that you should never compromise even if it cost you a sale or business for a short term. When your organization makes a mistake, just communicate how you will fix it and do so in a timely manner. Fix it in a way that if it happened to you, you’d want it to be fixed and something you could be proud of.
#7 – Deliver on your promise.
This is about walking the talk. Demonstrating integrity by delivering on what you say you’re going to do, keeping your commitments, behaving and having the capabilities you say you have, measuring continually to stay up to date with your skills, and honoring your word. Every customer wants what we promise to deliver.
#8 – Commit to the long term.
Time is a major factor to this. This is so important because trust is assessed and reassessed continually over time through our experience with an organization or a person. We all want to deal with people who are committed to us for the long-term. It’s about setting goals, innovative, being knowledgeable, achieving and measuring results, a continual focus on building and strengthening and protecting relationships with customers.
Connect with Natalie on LinkedIn
The Power of Trust: How Top Companies Build, Manage and Protect It by Natalie Doyle Oldfield
Building Trust with Customers: A Workbook Eight Guiding Principles by Natalie Doyle Oldfield