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Trust is the connective tissue that binds together everything that we do: our relationships, our actions, our expectations of others. We expect businesses to deliver on their promises and behave responsibly. We expect that we can move around our communities safely, depend upon our relationships, and rely on certain truths.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a shock to our collective systems—and a catalyst to rebuild trust. Trust will be more critical than ever post COVID19, as recovery without trust rests on shaky ground. To rebuild trust among your customers and business partners and best position your company to thrive in the long term, as a CEO you must focus on four dimensions of trust: physical, emotional, financial, and digital.
When you think of Physical trust, consider different perspective of your employees, your customers and business partners that you interact with. Can your employees feel safe gathering in groups or going to places where resources are shared and touched by many? Can your customers feel safe that partners are taking precautions in their facilities to protect me?
As regards Emotional trust, think of the following questions: can I trust that the company will tell me the truth and do right by me? Can I see that it is doing all it can to help in this crisis? Can I trust that I will be empowered to do my job? Can I build trust without face-to-face interactions? Can I make decisions without face-to-face interactions? Can I find novel ways of working together that benefit all?
As regards Financial trust, think of the following questions: can I trust that this company will be understanding of the challenges I am facing, or when I cannot meet its demand/needs given my own constraints in this crisis?
As regards Digital trust, your customers have to feel that their information is secure. Can I trust that cybersecurity is a priority and that my transactions, information, and personal data are correct, secure, and private? Can I trust that measures are being taken to protect my proprietary information, ensure integrity of the transactions, and that service levels are met as business interactions are increasingly virtual?
Now, how does a company develop trustworthiness? Put simply, as a company you must “do it right” and follow through on what you say in an effective, meaningful and impactful way. As a CEO, now more than ever, you must lead from a place of genuine empathy, transparency and care. If you follow this simple advice, this will not only make your customers happy but also strengthen the relationship between your employees.