As the prospect of a recession looms large, businesses are bracing themselves for its impact on their short-term profitability and longer-term prosperity.
History has taught us that in tough economic times, the relationship dynamic between clients and service providers undergoes a shift. Most firms turn away from commodity suppliers with whom their relationships are tactical and transactional. Instead, they look to their most trusted partners to help sustain their resilience. Together, both parties work cooperatively, uniting their respective strengths to navigate the challenges.
Clearly, the value of trust in the current business climate is now enormous.
Trust: The Chasm between Perception and Reality
However, new research from PwC suggests that some firms are deluding themselves about how much their clients trust them. The study reveals a significant misalignment between many companies’ perceptions of the level of trust that exists in these relationships and those of their clients.
Equally concerning, the research highlights a gap in the perception of the level of trust that exists between firms and their employees. Management tends to overestimate the degree to which people trust the company to do right by them and respect them as leaders.
That’s partly because the ruthless cost-cutting behavior demonstrated by some firms during the early days of the pandemic is still fresh in employees’ minds. In many cases, employee-employer trust has been irreparably damaged. Today, many people who’ve chosen to stay with such firms are understandably wary.
A Time of Reckoning
With tough economic times approaching, firms will soon find out what their clients and employees really think of them.
Are the clients you assume to be solid ones truly as loyal as you believe? How confident are you that your best people will stand by you and weather the approaching economic storm?
And – critically – what are you doing about it?
Strategies for Forging Genuine Connections Based on a Foundation of Trust
One of the first steps that any firm can take is to put trust at the centre of its customer and employee strategy. This requires a focus on relationships, not just deals, and behaviours, not just metrics of performance.
Trust is an intangible asset; it’s impossible to quantify with a number. However, it’s entirely possible to evaluate and measure your relationships – in terms of their depth, quality, and longevity.
Intelligent digital CRM tools allow you to analyze the relationship intelligence that exists at a company and individual level. They provide a means to scrutinize the cadence, frequency, and outcomes of your conversations, meetings, and other interactions to uncover opportunities and gain insights that inform future decision-making.
Data alone will change nothing. The key is to use this as a platform to impact the narrative you develop with your clients and employees, and the trust-building behaviours of those involved. Then the data can measure how effective these changes are by demonstrating the difference in the quality and level of relationship-building discussions.
Relationships are a proxy for trust, and there’s no better time to start thinking about them, measuring them, and acting on them.
We’ll be discussing this soon
In our upcoming dinner discussion, “The Trust Gap,” we’ll be examining this new firm-client-employee relationship paradigm from all angles and ask people to consider three key areas
- How trusted you think you are
- What is the evidence for this and how do you judge it?
- How to address the gaps between how trusted you want to be and how trusted you currently are
We look forward to hosting you at our dinner on September 7th. Register now.