As I write this, I am currently sat on the train travelling to Waterloo from sunny old Bournemouth. Although a journey that I frequently make through work, I noticed something today that has struck a chord with me.
A gentleman sat at the table, who is undoubtedly taking the same journey for similar purposes, got up and left his briefcase, paperwork and laptop at the table whilst he venture to find the nearest rest room.
Although this may be easily missed, it became very apparent that this gentleman, likely on a subconscious level, trusted the company he was in even though he had not met anyone surrounding him before.
Being such a subtle act of trust it did, however, make me wonder if we trust individual strangers more than the companies we work for / with?
Take the hospitality industry as a prime example: How many times have you needed to stay somewhere for work or leisure and opted to stay at an Airbnb instead of with a large hotel chain? To stay in a strangers home instead of a purpose built hotel to some may seem alien. However, more and more people are opting to take this approach; to trust that a strangers home is on par, if not more alluring than a corporate hotel.
Flip it on it's head to then think of letting a stranger stay in your home and it becomes even more alien.
So why do people do it?
Considering all the factors, I believe that are 2 areas of process that are to be looked at here:
- Objectively, we as humans perform a risk analysis of every decision we make; whether the outcomes potential outweighs the potential risk.
- Subjectively, we trust a human face more than we trust faceless corporations.
With the case of Airbnb it is obvious that you put a price in pounds, shillings and pence on the transaction. But understanding whose home you will be staying in through the booking process and familiarising yourself with their house rules will shape more trust than if you were to book a nights stay with a chain hotel.
In the case of the gentleman on the train, he obviously felt that he could have faith in the company he was in to not steal his laptop than to pack everything up to simply go to the toilet.
For businesses, trust has to be earned rather than simply given. To earn this valued commodity relationship management can come into practice.
Relationship management is the most powerful tool for building brand trust. It is an approach that involves treating your clients/ prospects as humans rather than just as a businesses logo or pound sign.
I have witnessed first hand the repercussions that broken trust can have on a professional relationship and seen the long lasting partner relationships that can be created through building those relationships.
In by practising relationship management, the true test that you client trusts you could even be that they ask for your advise on a non-project related subject or even simply by asking how you are and genuinely reacting to your answer.
In essence, by humanising your clientele and nurturing those individual relationships they will not only retain additional business from them, but will likely want to understand how you can help them more.
We hope this is useful. Any comments or feedback is really appreciated.
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