Trust is the word – why a customer centric company builds the trust of both its customers and its people


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Trust is earned, each day and cumulatively, through actions and the way that an organisation engages with both employees and customers.

Last month my windscreen cracked for the second time in six months thanks to a rogue stone on the M40. I’d had a shocking customer experience during the first repair job involving missed appointments, incorrect screens turning up and even correct screens being broken on installation.

This time, I waited in expectantly, but somewhat skeptically on the agreed morning for the well-known windscreen repair company to pitch up. Josh, from the said company, arrived as agreed (hooray!) and got to work. So far so good I thought. That was until the doorbell rang, Josh informed me that the wrong screen had been put in the right packaging, hence ending up in his van and we were going to have to reschedule.

Josh was a nice guy – honest, open and direct – and to be fair the fault was not his but something that had gone wrong far earlier in the customer journey. Interestingly though, what ensued between us was an exchange of war stories on broken promises, ignorance around customer needs and a complete lack of listening. I was talking as a customer, Josh was talking as an employee – but neither of us had any trust in the company.

When customers trust a company, 83% will recommend that brand to others and 82% will continue to use that company frequently. (1) Us girls are particularly hard to please with 61% believing that brands aren’t trustworthy because they don’t live up the promises that they make.(2) Today’s CEO’s are certainly aware that this lack of trust is a significant threat to their organisation’s growth (3) but with trust in CEO’s themselves at an all-time low (4) where on earth do they start?

Let’s come back to Josh for a minute – my windscreen repair guy – and the one person that day who seemed to trust his company less than I did. Although Customer Experience itself has been a key focus for companies, many are now realising that intrinsically linked to this is Employee Experience which plays just as important a part but is often neglected. The majority of UK employees rate trust as very important to their job satisfaction yet just 27% say they’re satisfied with the trust in their own organisation. (5) The return on employee trust is even more compelling with high-trust companies enjoying lower stress levels, delivering 50% higher productivity and employees being a whopping 76% more engaged. (6)

Critically, we also know that those working in high-trust companies were 70% more aligned with their company’s purpose. This is key – because if you want to develop a customer centric culture, ensuring that customers trust you, remain loyal and recommend you, then it’s equally important that employees do too.

Here’s our top five focus areas to build trust both in and outside your organisation:

1. Manage expectations: Appreciate, meet, surpass and manage customer and employee expectations, consistently and across all touch points
2. Understand needs: Enquire, understand and respond to both customers and employees, showing that they are being considered and being listened to
3. Keep promises: Make commitments to customers and employees that you can deliver on, reliably. If you make mistakes, proactively resolve them and learn from them to prevent it from happening again
4. Encourage openness: Encourage openness and transparency throughout both customer and employee experiences. Investigate where trust may be faltering or eroding and continually improve
5. Involve your people: Employees deliver the heartbeat of your customer journey. Involve them in your customer mapping and developing your customer experience strategy

Trust is earned, each day and cumulatively, through actions and the way that an organisation engages with both employees and customers. Aligning the needs and dreams of your customer with the culture and capability of your employees is key because trust develops in a multi-channel context – via whichever touch point the employee or customer interacts with. If a customer is expecting something which an employee is unable to deliver, for whatever reason, trust is lost on every level.

1. Concerto Marketing/ ResearchNow
2. Womankind/SheSpeaks
3. 2016 PWC Global CEO survey
4. Edelman Trust Barometer 2017
5. 2016 Employee Job Satisfaction & Engagement report by the Society for Human Resources Management
6. Harvard Business Review

Amanda Davis

Amanda writes and shares Thought Leadership, drawing on her 15 years of coaching, guiding, mentoring and consulting for clients in various sectors and sizes around the world. She helps establish organisations understand how to connect to customers; find ways to align their expectations with the culture & capability of the organisation. She has a particular focus on customer experience transformation in the digital age, ensuring that technology development starts and finishes with the customer. Amanda has been a regular featured columnist and advisor for Customer Think since 2018.


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