‘Trust’- the ultimate business currency


Do Not Trust MeJust recently I  was staying in a hotel in central Auckland on work.  I was pleasantly surprised when logging on and a message popped up saying ‘Guests can enjoy FREE wifi with no data cap or time limit’ .

For me as a hotel guest this signalled that they trusted us the customers, to do the right thing and not to abuse wifi privileges.

Rachel Botsman in her TED talk   discusses how trust is the currency of the new economy . In  The Speed Of Trust, Stephen M.R.Covey points out that high trust equals high speed and low cost, whereas low trust means low speed and high cost.

We have all experienced this in our business and personal lives.  When you trust someone, things are smoother and faster.

Covey cites the case of aviation security in the US. Prior to 9/11 one could reach the airport just 30 minutes before flight time and easily make it on board.  Why? Because people had a high degree of trust in aviation security.  Now it takes anywhere from 1.5 to 2 hours.  While the extra security measures have made flying safer, Covey points out that the added cost of security ultimately shows up on every airline ticket.   On the other hand, he gives the example of Warren Buffet deciding to acquire McLane Distribution – a $23billion company – from Wal-Mart in just one two-hour meeting because of high trust.  Besides the speedy conclusion of the deal, both companies saved millions of dollars in legal and investment banker fees.

Companies and organisations spend billions of dollars earning customer’s trust.  But today the shoe is on the other foot and the challenge in the new economy is how do companies show customers that they trust them?  Do you trust your customers and how have you shown them that you trust them?  Free wifi will do it for me every time.