When it comes to customer loyalty, nothing is more important than the trust you develop with your customers. Research from Texas A & M University says if customers see you as being trustworthy and reliable ... and if customers see you fulfilling your promises ... then they will become enthusiastic customers for life.
The same is true with your co-workers. If your employees see you telling the truth, even when it's not easy or comfortable to do so then you'll build an incredible bond of trust with them. And with that bond of trust will come more cooperation and motivation.
The lesson is clear. If you want your customers to remain loyal, you must earn and keep their trust. If you want a stronger team at work, you have to build a foundation of trust. So trust is your ultimate competitive advantage. Now, how do you build or re-build trust?
Instead, honor the other person. Rather than focus on WHO's to blame for what went wrong, focus on WHAT can be done about it. That takes the focus off the past and off the other person. It puts the focus onto the future where the two of you can work together.
Besides, if you jump in too quickly, blaming someone for what happened, you'll often embarrass yourself. You may find out that you're really the one to blame for the problem that occurred.
I'll never forget the time I chaired the task force of a charitable organization. Over a period of time, it came to my attention that the organization had misused funds on several occasions. My task force members urged me to confront the Board and document my findings. They would be there to back me up.
I did that, but not one of the task force members backed me up when the top leaders lashed out in defense and aggression. If nothing else, I learned that Dr. King was right. It was the silence of my "friends" that I remember the most today.
The reason is simple. Negative gossip almost always gets back to the person you are discussing. That's just the nature of juicy, negative, sensationalized news. And to make matters worse, the version that gets back to the person you discussed is almost always worse than the version you shared.
You tell a colleague that you'll get back to him, and he sees it as a promise. You tell a client, that an assignment will be finished by tomorrow and she sees it as a promise. And it doesn't work to go back to them and say you forgot or you got busy. In their minds, you broke your promise, and the trust between the two of you is damaged. So, if you want to build trust, the solution is simple. Keep your promises.
And, it's all because trust is the "ultimate competitive advantage."