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Customer trust may be the single most important asset any business can have, and two conditions must be met before a customer will trust you:

  1. Intent. The customer has to perceive that you have the right motive – that is, that you intend to act in the customer’s own interest, and that you won’t sell the customer’s interest short when that advances your own business goals.
  2. Competence. You must be capable of carrying out that good intent in a reasonably competent manner.

Both these conditions must be met for a customer to trust a business. Either one, by itself, will not be sufficient. It does a customer no good to deal with the best-meaning company in the world if that company doesn’t have enough competence to deliver on their good intentions. The problem is that customer trust is too often overlooked by busy executives, under pressure to show immediate financial results in their operations. It’s easy to overlook the central role of customer trust in the success of a business, because trustability is not something we normally measure and report to shareholders on any regular basis. If you want to begin to understand your own company’s attitude toward customer trust, these are the kinds of questions you should ask yourself:

  • Do you ever find the need to have one story for the company
    but another for the client?
  • Do you remind customers when their warranties or service
    agreements are almost up?
  • Would you rather sell to knowledgeable and informed customers,
    or to uninformed customers?
  • Do your salespeople make more money by selling products?
    Or by building relationships?

from Strategy Speaks: a Peppers and Rogers Blog