Last weekend, during the DMA 2012 congress, I have had the opportunity to attend a keynote by Don Peppers, well-known specialist in customer driven business stratgy.
Don Peppers talked about the content of his last book, “Extreme Trust”, which is about the growing need for businesses to deserve the consumers’ trust if they want to remain profitable.
This need to be trustable is one the consequences of the technological evolution which gives us, as consumers, the power to interact faster, better, and more often. That’s what Peppers calls -in analogy to Moore’s law- “Zuckerberg’s law”: we interact 1000 times more every 20 years.
These interactions create an inevitable transparency for businesses, leaving control in the hand of the consumers. For instance, a business preventing its customers to give feedback on its products or services will not be able to block those reviews: they will just appear at hundreds of other places across the web.
Actually, (a limited amount of) negative reviews might reveal to be positive for business as they give more credibility to positive reviews.
What do you need to be “trustable”?
Two elements are necessary to be able to generate trust: competence and good intentions. But, according to the author, to create “extreme trust” a business needs those two elements combined with empathy for the customer. To understand your customer, you need to set yourself in his shoes and try to imagine his experience with your business. A profile analysis is a good way to know your customer, but empathy is the best way to understand your customer.
Thanks to that empathy, you’ll be able to positively “surprise” your customer and, in doing so, generate the trust you need to make good business. If you do it right, you might even generate a reciprocity between your business and the consumers.