Last week I was doing a presentation on Winning In The Trust & Value Economy for Environmental Data Resources, a Connecticut company providing solutions to manage environmental risk, when I got a great question from the audience.
The question, if I can paraphrase, was, “Why, if these concepts of relationship, value and consistency in the service culture have been around for years, why do they matter more now?” It is a great question, and one that when answered, really sums up the major changes in this new economy.
This participant was one hundred percent right. The concepts of relationship, value and consistency have been around for years. However, how well a company or individual implemented them didn’t necessarily greatly impact their bottom line like it does today. Customers didn’t hold us as accountable for our ability to connect with them or take responsibility for our actions.
In this economy, the trust and value economy, if you don’t deliver on your promise of relationship, value and consistency, you will constantly struggle to succeed. Why? Here are five reasons relationship, value and consistency matter more in the trust and value economy.
1. Change – This economy is not in just in a slump, it has changed. Things are never going back to the way they were. Gone are the days of abundance and corporate dominance. The consumer is in control and frugal is in!
2. Competition – Competition is at an all-time high and growing, and clients realize they have more choices than ever before. Clients are taking action. If the service, the value and the relationship are better somewhere else, they move on.
3. Irrelevance – The Internet, competition and globalization have made us, as business owners and professionals, technically irrelevant in the sales process. Clients don’t have to work with us to buy what they want or get what they need. They can Google to find products or services, join groups and chat rooms to gain information, and they can use their smart phones and ipads to place an order or buy a service anytime and anywhere.
4. Price – Again, frugal is in and gone are the days of abundance. Clients like to think of themselves as savvy, well-informed and confident. They are looking for a deal, whether that deal is about price or about relationship, value, and consistency.
5. Word of Mouth – This a word-of-mouth economy. Trust in companies, advertising and promotions is at an all-time low. According to the report Your Brand At Risk ,only 8% of people believe what companies say about themselves. What do they believe? Peer recommendations. The growth of social media has put those peer recommendations on steroids. Testimonials, a referral, and a letter of thank you have become turbo charged as our clients take their feedback to the internet.
Yes, relationships, value and consistency have always been a part of the service industry. But in today’s Trust and Value Economy, put your effort there and you will see a much greater return on investment.