Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Do Your Customers Trust You?

This was the title of a Forbes article this week and it goes on to say, "Of all the disadvantages that small businesses have, one asset they have no excuse for lacking is a tight bond with their customers. Ultimately, that bond is built on trust-- in the entrepreneur's competence, character, and empathy for his customers' problems."

Over the last decade, corporate America , its stockholders, and its customers have been dealt heavy blows in the trust area... JetBlue, Taco Bell, Merck; not to mention Enron, MCIWorldcom, ImClone, and Tyco. But, what about those who consult? Do their customers trust them? (With the bigger question on my mind being, "Do my clients trust me??")

So far in my career, I've been able to safely navigate these murky waters by garnering the majority of my projects through referrals. High, HIGH initial trust factor in this scenario. However, to keep that confidence high, clear and consistent communication, realistic fee structures, and performance satisfaction (and not just satisfaction... you want the "wow" response) are the keys to maintaining not only customer trust, but building a relationship that leads to a new business snowball effect.

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