Sunday, June 26, 2011

Success with Customers and Employees is a Matter of Trust

I just finished reading Gary Vaynerchuk's The Thank-You Economy.   Great nuggets there to consider.

While Vaynerchuk as he usually does explores several cutting-edge concepts involving social media reputation that all entrepreneurs should consider, his musings on trust caught my attention:
  • Building, sustaining and growing the trust of your customers (your employer is your customer, too:  my trope on Vaynerchuk) is the key to success, in good times and bad, and most importantly, whether they're happy or unhappy with you;  
  • It's critical to engage and respond authentically with customers especially when they're unhappy with you; ironically, you gain loyalty by being present when they have problems more than when everything is peachy.  Think of the bank run scene from It's a Wonderful Life;
  • Demonstrating that you authentically trust your employees to do the right thing (and hire employees in the first place who reflect your "success" DNA to build, sustain and grow customer trust) will in turn not only result in higher customer satisfaction, but will also engender trust and retention in return from your employees.  (I also love Vaynerchuk's vision of a Chief Culture Officer or CCO, charged with ensuring the trust culture that grows the business.)

Vaynerchuk also reminded me of the great mediation training I experienced with Duke Fisher and Mediation Matters.  Duke emphasized all throughout our training to stand our ground, gather our courage and listen for the needs underneath the yelling:  that the source of all human conflict is needs met and unmet.

    Troping further on Duke's coaching and Vaynerchuk's trust concepts, I assert that the source of all business struggle to succeed is our customers' needs met and unmet. And that when we, as their vendors, listen to and respond authentically, with genuine care and human connectedness to the needs underneath our customers' yelling (even when there isn't an answer, and all we can do is commiserate as peers and offer other ways to meet our customers' needs, a la Miracle on 34th Street, when Kris Kringle sends a harried mother to Gimbel's for the toy that Macy's no longer has in stock), trust, which engenders reputation, which in turn engenders business growth:  is inevitable.

    Or as Billy says:  it's a matter of trust.

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