This is second post in a series on The Trust Default serialized from my upcoming book on Account Planning. (If you are interested in being notified when the book is available – sometime in March – please let me know ddaly (at) thetasgroup (dot) com.)
You can click on the link for first post, The Trust Default (Part I), here.
There was a time when people would look to figures of authority for advice and guidance. Government leaders and senior company executives were at the center of the Trust Circle and were considered a talisman for trust. It has been a while since that has been the case, and in recent times their trust bank has completely defaulted.
But nature abhors a vacuum and human nature dictates that we all have a deep yearning to trust and to be trusted. We now look elsewhere for credible sources or trusted advisors and, with increasing frequency, we are placing our trust in people like ourselves. We seek advice from people with whom we can relate, whose circumstances are similar to ours and who face the same challenges.
Independent research shows that the shape of the Trust Circle is changing. In compiling its excellent Trust Barometer, Edelman asked participants how credible they would consider information provided about a company from a variety of sources.
Between 2011 and 2012, CEOs and government officials plummeted on the credibility scale while peers and regular employees saw a dramatic rise. Customers trust your company’s leadership far less than before. The customer needs to see you as ‘A Person Like Me’, someone who understands their world.
In many cases, CEOs only have themselves to blame. While professing to be customer-focused, they often are not sufficiently familiar with what the customer really wants, and even if they wanted to (which is rare in itself), they may not have the knowledge to effect the necessary change to deliver on the promises they unwisely make.
The third (and final) post in this series will appear shortly, and is about Building Trust.