Business Insider

After the election, we need business to be trustworthy more than ever

Dale Dixon: Better Business
Dale Dixon: Better Business

With the election fresh in your mind, put this word on your radar screen: Trust. If you’re like me, you’ll be amazed how often you see it and hear it. However, the real question: Are you experiencing trust?

The world needs trust more than ever. There’s no better place to start rebuilding after the most contentious presidential election any of us can remember.

Each and every one of us has a responsibility to seek out relationships built on trust and to be trustworthy. If you approach each day with the sincere desire to start with trust, better products and service will result. Employees will have reason to embrace your company — devoting their talents and skills. More customers will find you.

Yes, customers want to do business where there is trust. The Edelman Trust Barometer survey shows 51 percent of the general population trust business.

Take a look at the Gallup Organization’s Americans’ Confidence in Institutions report. Data show people with “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the institution are at record lows. Only 27 percent of respondents have a high level of confidence in banks; 37 percent for medical and 18 percent for big business. Think of it this way: If you work for a national brand in southwest Idaho, fewer than two in 10 of your customers have confidence you’ll do right. If you’re in banking, fewer than three in 10. Ouch.

How do we start? If you’re a business owner or manager, ask how the following are implemented daily. If you’re shopping for products and services, check to be sure a business follows these practices:

▪  Tell the truth. Reveal all conditions or exceptions regarding the products or services you offer.

▪  Be transparent. Help customers make the best decision to buy by clearly disclosing all policies, guarantees and procedures.

▪  Honor promises. Your word should be as good as your signature..

▪  Be responsive. It’s how we deal with that dissatisfied customer that sets us apart. Address disputes quickly, respectfully and reasonably.

▪  Safeguard privacy. Collect information only as it is needed. Then, protect all data collected against mishandling and fraud. Tell the customer why you are collecting the information and respect the customer’s wishes regarding the use of that information.

▪  Embody integrity. Integrity is not something we do, it is part of who we are. Ask yourself, “Would I accept being treated like this?” Do you conduct yourself in private the same as in public? These questions drive to the heart of integrity.

I’m convinced we each have a responsibility to help in post-election healing. Recovery built on trust will be long-lasting and profound.

Dale Dixon is chief innovation officer for Better Business Bureau Northwest. 342-4649, dale.dixon@thebbb.org. This column appears in the Nov. 16-Dec. 20, 2016, edition of the Idaho Statesman’s Business Insider magazine. Click here for the e-edition (subscription required).

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