What Distinguishes Trusted Companies? Five Gestures of Trust to Look For
In today’s marketplace, consumer experience can make or break a business. Consumers tend to vote with their feet — if they have a bad experience with a company, they may take their business elsewhere. Worse, they may also tell their friends and family about their negative experience. In the best case, they might contact the business to complain – thereby giving it a chance to recover.
As we listened to how consumers convey and frame their experiences in different business-related interactions, we discerned that they use five key factors to decide whether they like or trust a brand, company, or business. These factors, which we have termed “gestures,” make the customer feel respected. This sense of respect translates into a tendency to trust the company. The gestures are as follows: “Does the business appear to be. . .?”
HONEST – Does it feel like the company tells me what it should be telling me – the information that is important to me in the moment – in a way that makes plain sense to me?
TRANSPARENT – Does the company appear to be willing to disclose information that is important to me, even if it appears to make the company more vulnerable, because it is the right thing to do and is important for me to know? Is this transparency granted as part of a service ethos, rather than because of media or community pressure or customer threat?
PROACTIVE – Does the company take steps to ensure that I gain as much value from our relationship as possible without my asking them to? Also, does the company go out of its way to respond to legitimate requests or inquiries I might make?
HUMBLE – Does the company appear to believe that its success is due in large part to its customers and the community and that customers and the community, therefore, should be treated as true partners in the enterprise, considered with empathy when making company decisions? Ultimately, does the company feel the need to acknowledge me, and show genuine appreciation for my patronage?
EQUITABLE – Does the company believe it is fair and productive to grant customers power in the relationship and/or transactions, power the company ostensibly could retain for itself should it choose? As when a company is transparent, is this sharing of power granted under the belief that it is the “right thing to do” as part of a service ethos, rather than because of competitive pressures or customer threat.
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