This week I had the pleasure of staying at the LEED Platinum Proximity Hotel in Greensboro, NC, and something caught my eye. It was a cooler filled with soda and a sign on the door that read "Honor System." You could then call the front desk to have a drink charged to your room or put your payment in a box above the cooler.
Something special happens when businesses show that they trust their consumers. It turns the relationship from a business/customer relationship into a partnership. No longer are businesses simply there to collect money. They're there to help, support and make lives richer.
The best part about trust is it can be practiced in small ways with relative ease. It doesn't have to be a major shift in the organization. Think about how easy Zappos makes returns painless or how quickly Netflix replaces DVDs that are reported broken based on solely customer claims.
Humans are social by nature, and communities are built based on trust. Proving your business to be a credible resource that offers content and support for the benefit of the customer, not the business, brings you that much closer to creating community built on trust.
Ultimately, trust allows a business to connect with consumers on a deeper level. That's what partnership is. When a business practices trust and earns it based on behavior, it connects on a deeper level and stirs emotion, which creates an experience worth coming back to and, even further, loyalty.
Let It Live Digitally
Now, trust isn't limited to the customer service counter or on the phone. It can live across social platforms and be present in every micro and macro interaction with customers.
Modern marketing, automation and the tools that have made scale possible have eroded the trust businesses have in their customers and vise versa. Now, we're able to know our customers and create communities built on delivering value and living trust. Whether it's your Facebook Page, online community or something else, build trust in your brand by setting the example and trusting your customers.