Building a triangle of trust in business
Let me begin with a B2B riddle…
I’m one of the most valuable assets in business yet often most prone to neglect; I cannot be seen and do not appear as a line on the balance sheet; whilst I’m invisible, I am one of the most crucial elements of business success… what am I?
A strong network of customers, suppliers, buyers, and outsourced service providers all depends on the same foundation of trust. People will naturally want to do more business with the people they believe in and enjoy working with.
Trust is definitive in every single relationship we have. It’s a very definite ‘yes’ or a ‘no’. There’s never a ‘well I trust them a little bit’ or ‘maybe I trust them’. With everything you say or do, you are growing trust or breaking it down.
It is important to build as many trust building interactions as possible while excellent and consistent communication is key to successful relationships in a trust triangle:
Let’s start with ‘what you do’- your product and your services – A great service delivered by a highly trained and hardworking team is the essential baseline. However, it’s certainly not just about getting as much done as possible for the lowest price. A willingness to try a new solution is essential to address client pain points and operational efficiencies must add value to the service, with trust and open and honest conversation underpinning a quality customer experience.
Next is the ‘how you do it’ – your promise and your story – Don’t make promises you can’t deliver – Failing to deliver what you’ve said you’re going to can seriously harm your relationship with customers. Be realistic about meeting expectation and, if it can’t be done, work together to find a new solution. If something goes wrong, don’t withhold it. Hiding problems causes greater trust issues further down the line. Respect the customer. Listen to and welcome new ideas and respond kindly, whether these are feasible or not. And establish credibility: be consistent in all you do, from mobilisation to management, health and safety, and office communication.
Finally, there’s the ‘why you do it’ – your brand purpose and beliefs – Any one individual within a business can build a great relationship of trust with their customer. However they need the backing supported by the shared values of the company to make this truly work. For example, if an employee intends to do something in a certain way but pressure from the business directs an action that is not aligned with core values.
The three points of the triangle, as above – action, intention and values – need to feed into one another to effectively impact trust.
Our experience at AM Services Group has demonstrated that a value added service; open and honest communication; and clear, strong values and vision that are embedded in our culture has resulted in 60 per cent of our clients taking another service line with us, built on firm trust and a solid relationship.
We are firm believers that first impressions count, that people buy from people and that stability is important. Yet, this triangle of trust model ensures that, founded on a solid base with its interlocking elements, strong partnerships and trust can continue effectively when people, as understandably they will, move on, leaving long term relationships in tact.
Group Commercial Director