Customer Expectations for Trust are Rising
To paraphrase Warren Buffet, the secret to good customer relationships is the same as the secret to any good marriage: low expectations.
Peppers & Rogers Group combines a global perspective, deep expertise in customer strategy and decades of experience serving top companies. Read our latest insights and thought leadership on the customer economy.
If you're planning a trip and want to know what a hotel or resort is really like, there is no shortage of Web sites offering reviews. Some reviews are by travel critics and insiders, while others are purported to be from real customers. Problem is, a substantial number of these "real customer" reviews are, in fact, bought-and-paid-for opinions.
To satisfy the customer is the mission and the purpose of every business. - Peter Drucker
As marketers, we've heard it said a thousand times in a thousand different ways: "Treat different customers differently." The virtues of this mantra have been extolled by management thought leaders ranging from Peter Drucker to Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, yet it is still a difficult concept for many firms to put into practice. There is tremendous potential waiting to be unlocked from the customers you already have. Not only is it imperative to keep customers, but also to provide as many relevant products and services based on their needs and your capabilities. To do this, you must evaluate each customer's perspective.
Companies can outsmart their competition by taking the lead when it comes to being proactively trustworthy. I recently noticed a missed opportunity during an experience I had with my cable provider, Comcast.
We are looking for examples of trustability shown by small- and medium-sized businesses. At Peppers & Rogers Group, our consulting practice primarily centers on larger companies, but there are a wide range of smaller firms that could benefit from establishing a reputation for trustability. Here are a couple of examples from our book Extreme Trust:
JetBlue is an example of a trustable company. The airline proactively refunds customers when it experiences long delays, in accordance with its Customer Bill of Rights. Both are examples of JetBlue's trustability. Watch the Peppers Unplugged video to learn more.
"No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he'd only had good intentions. He had money, too." -Margaret Thatcher
The clash between trustability and a company's own short-term financial interest is real. It is a serious and continuing obstacle to be overcome, and we don't want to minimize it. Urging companies simply to "do the right thing" isn't likely to change how management sees the world. The profit motive does that. But trustability is actually a tool for generating the kind of profits that ought to be beloved by any good capitalist.
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