Too many businesses break the “trust economy”

broken trust

It has been said the we now live in a “trust economy.”

What does that mean?

  • Name brand doesn’t matter as much as it used to… unless the name brand is associated with some type of trust.
  • Advertisements are not as effective anymore… and traditional marketing is seen as an interruption.
  • We tend to find our products and services based on the recommendations of friends and family more than anything else (ratings on Amazon, sites like Angie’s List, etc.)

And too many businesses are stuck in a rut, still doing the old-fashioned “interruption marketing” (telemarketers calling at dinner, TV commercials, pop-up banner ads on websites, etc.) that most of us hate nowadays.

Trust is the new currency which businesses need to work to receive. Because if people trust your brand/company, they will then (and only then) buy your products.

There is really nothing new about the idea… it’s biblical in fact.

Proverbs 28:20 – A faithful man will abound with blessings, but whoever hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.

Do you get what it’s saying about the importance of trust?

Clamoring for money alone brings punishment (I presume from God). But faithfulness, trustworthiness brings about blessing (again, I presume from God). THAT is part of what is wrong with traditional “sales-y” marketing techniques. They are based on persuasion (and many times coercion) without trying to build trust. What’s the punishment those kinds of marketers receive? It could be as simple as losing customers, ticking off their prospects, and losing revenue in the end.

But what about the company (person in the company) who is showing themselves faithful (building trust)? They are the ones who have repeat customers. They are the ones who develop a tribe of raving fans.

They are the ones who suddenly appear as an “overnight success” but in fact have been working very hard to build integrity and trust into their business for years.

3 ways to break trust in the “trust economy”

In the interest of being helpful instead of just critical… here are 3 sure-fire ways you can break trust in your business.

1. DO NOT DO WHAT YOU SAY (lie)

  • Make exaggerations about your product or service.
  • Don’t tell the full truth about what it will cost.
  • Do the very least you can do to get the product out the door.
  • View your deadlines and guarantees as “guidelines” instead of promises.

2. TREAT THEM LIKE CUSTOMERS INSTEAD OF PEOPLE

  • Act like the business is about you instead of about them.
  • Force them to follow guidelines or procedures that don’t make sense.
  • Make them wait a long time to talk to someone on the phone (or better yet, make them go through the phone tree from hell).
  • Never ask them questions about their experience with your company (if you don’t ask, you don’t have to fix anything).

3. DON’T ANSWER THEIR QUESTIONS VERY WELL

  • Don’t return phone calls in a timely way.
  • Don’t be concerned about whether they understand how to use your product… you got the sale didn’t you?
  • Don’t provide a F.A.Q. page if you’re selling products or services.
  • Instead of explaining things when they ask, throw a 40 page manual in their lap.
  • Make them get help from somebody who does not speak their language very well (This is not a prejudiced statement, it’s a common sense customer service statement).

Do you see what I mean?

These kinds of actions cause those you’re trying to serve (remember, it’s customer service) to feel like you resent them, want to control them, and don’t truly care about them.

But it’s not only about business, is it?

Trust applies more powerfully to relationships that have nothing to do with business. The people in our lives (spouses, children, parents, friends) need to know that…

  • We are a person of our word.
  • We care about them as a person.
  • We want to communicate with them clearly, for the sake of understanding.

Relationships are built upon trust. PERIOD.

If you break trust, your relationships will suffer – I guarantee it. In over 20 years of pastoral counseling I ran into scores of people who had broken trust in their most important relationships. My job was to help them discover how trust had been broken, lead them to genuine repentance about it, and begin to rebuild the trust.

If you’re in a place where trust is broken in your relationships, don’t despair. Don’t give up. Instead, you need to get on your knees before almighty God and repent of what you’ve done to break trust. And don’t mince words or try to sugar coat it. He knows the real deal of what you’ve done.

Proverbs 28:13 – Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.

God will begin to help you rebuild trust if you are willing to get humble and think on His terms. He will empower you to rebuild relationships you’ve damaged, one step at a time, over the long haul. When you first start, it will be excruciatingly painful. But you need to grit your teeth, lean on the LORD, and keep going.

And you won’t do well at it at first, it will take time for you to convince yourself and the person you’ve hurt that you can do it. But don’t give up. Trust can be rebuilt, but you are going to have to work very hard to rebuild integrity and trust over the course of years, not hours or days. It takes that long because relationships are that important.

Trust is easily broken. Trust is hard to rebuild. It’s true whether you’re talking about a marriage or a business.

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2 thoughts on “Too many businesses break the “trust economy”

  1. I think Google, FaceBook, and Twitter all have problems with this for different reasons. I wrote about it here: http://trinitydigitalmedia.com/2013/03/i-dont-trust-facebook-google-and-twitter/ . My point isn’t that we should laugh at their folly, but learn not to break trust by slowly killing things people use, trying to get away with changing the agreement we have with them, or messing over our partners. Churches and Christian businesses can absolutely make these mistakes and we should try not to.

    • Hi Paul.. thanks for reading and commenting. I think you are exactly right on those three “big-dogs” in the online world. I look forward to reading your post. I think what you’re saying has great merit… and we need to learn how to think through our plans/products/services to that we can better foresee the things that might have to change in the future, so we can be aware of them now. Blessings!

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