Magazine article CRM Magazine

Extreme Trust: Why Companies Need to Step Up Their Game

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Extreme Trust: Why Companies Need to Step Up Their Game

Article excerpt

In an age where every action a company takes can be instantly exposed across the Web, consumer trust is more important than ever. In their new book, Extreme Trust, Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, Ph.D., founders of the management consulting firm Peppers & Rogers Group, explain that increased transparency and communication requires companies to proactively earn their customers' trust. Peppers and Rogers explained to Associate Editor Judith Aquino what companies can do to turn honesty into a competitive advantage.

CRM: What interested you about trust in a customer relationship and how do you define extreme trust?

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Martha Rogers: When we think about customer relationships, one of the things we realized is that as technology drives greater interconnectivity and more customers talk to each other about their experiences with a brand, what customers say is actually more important than what companies say about themselves. And if that's the case, that means the relationships that companies have with their customers and the experiences those customers have are what will really matter in the long run.

Don Peppers: What's happening is consumers are sharing so much information they're beginning to demand a higher level of trustworthiness from companies--something Martha and I call extreme trust or trustability.

Extreme trust is proactively protecting your customers' interests. For example, if you order a book from Amazon, they'll remind you that you already bought it. iTunes does that as well. Either one of these companies could make money in the short term simply by taking their customers' money, since it's a mistake from the customer's end. But increasingly, companies are finding consumers will hold them accountable if they take advantage of someone's mistake or lack of knowledge. They want proactive trust--extreme trust--and that's what the book is about.

CRM: In your book, you make a distinction between companies that are trustable versus those that are trustworthy. How can companies tell which one they are?

Rogers: If you're not cheating customers or you're following the law, or you're simply doing what you say you'll do in the 18 pages of tiny print, then you're trustworthy. If you're going to be trustable, if you're going to practice extreme trust ... then you have to be competent at what you do and look out for your customers' interests as well as your own and do it proactively. …

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