Thursday, December 3, 2009

What "Tiger" & "Toyota" have taught us about TRUST

Watching the news lately has me thinking about one word lately – trust. Starting with Tiger Woods admitting in a press conference that he messed up. Now he’s trying to regain the trust of his sponsors, fans and last but not least - his wife.
Speaking of screwing up - what a mess Toyota has on there hands! They have a huge hurdle to overcome to regain the trust of their customers. Trust is a word that we often toss around too lightly. How often do we hear and say “trust me”.

Whether it be in your personal or business relationships trust is critical to your success. If you break a trust – regaining it can be difficult if not impossible. The word trust should be considered an action verb. You can say “trust me” “trust us” all you want – but it is your actions that really speak to whether or not you can be trusted. In business – trust can be broken in a number of ways. If a business makes claims and promises and then breaks them - trust is broken. Do not claim you offer “easy returns” – “quality products” “affordable prices” “relaxing atmosphere” ”fast service” unless you are certain you can live up to those promises. If you can’t and if you don’t – you will break the trust of a customer and likely lose them for good!

If you do mess up and betray someone’s trust you can regain it if you promise to make it right and then do so through your actions. Remember actions speak louder than words. We’ve all experienced a situation whether it be in our personal lives or conducting business when someone let us down and betrayed our trust. Most of us are willing to forgive and forget if that person or business “makes it right.” Case in point – I recently ordered a product that did not work as promised. I called the company and they immediately shipped me a replacement product at no expense to me without requiring me to return the defective product. They trusted that I was telling them the truth about the defective product and they made it right ASAP. I will continue to do business with them. They took immediate “action”, they made it right - they regained my trust.

For Toyota and Tiger it won’t be so easy. It’s going to require that their actions over time demonstrate that they can be trusted again.

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