We all know that core to successful employee relations is trust. Trust is fundamental to employee interaction and to running a business. Employees must trust all parts of the senior management staff to run the business successfully, and senior management must trust that their employees will follow through on the stated goals of the organization. If we know this to be true, doesn’t it make sense that trust could also be a key factor in other business relationships as well?
There is no difference in the value of trust when it comes to customers. This is particularly valuable and important when discussing direct customer interaction in the form of advisory boards and customer communities.
- It is necessary – Trust is necessary in building a community. Members want that sense that there is mutual effort and returns and they want to know that their comments, posts and other efforts will be used for mutual value. This also means that you will be protective of their privacy and not misuse their email addresses or other contact information.
- Comes with some level of transparency – With trust comes a fair amount of transparency, but complete transparency is not needed to build strong trust. Honesty and some level of transparency go a long way in building trust, but current and potential customers know your business can’t share everything. Be as open as you can and when you’re not able to share, customers will be more understanding.
- Two-way interaction helps – Trust is not always assumed in community. Often times the more the company shows its willingness to share, and communicate, the more it increases members’ willingness to share and communicate. While open communication is great, communicating through the backchannel can also provide that personal touch that shows there is a human behind the community, giving one more opportunity to build that necessary trust.
It is an obvious factor for most when thinking about employee relations. That same trust needs to be discussed and reviewed more overtly and more often when thinking about customer relationships especially when building communities.
What other factors help build community trust? Why is it so necessary in building an active successful community?
Photo used under Creative Commons from Brian Woychuk.