All professionals depend on the trust of their clients, and unfortunately when clients lose trust it takes a long time to get it back. So how do you avoid losing the faith of your clients in the first place?
Trust is the thing which makes a client want your advice, pay for it and follow it.
It’s a fundamental bedrock of a business relationship, but much like termites eating a structure from within you may not know you’re losing trust with your clients until it’s too late.
Many of the things we do to lose trust with clients, we do unwittingly. We’re only human, after all.
But there are things you can do to recognise and, more importantly, rectify faltering trust before it’s too late.
Here are some warning signs to look for in your business if you want to avoid losing clients or gaining a bad reputation.
You’re probably familiar with the expression ‘the plumber with a leaky tap’. It’s up to you to make sure it doesn’t apply to your business – even if you aren’t a plumber.
Is there anything your clients pay you to do for them that you don’t get right in your own business?
If you’re an accountant, are the invoices and statements you send your clients 100 percent accurate?
If you’re a graphic designer, is your branding constantly updated and appealing? If you’re an HR consultant are your internal staff management processes best practice?
None of us is perfect, and mistakes happen, but your attitude to your core business activities will reflect the quality your clients expect in the work you do for them.
Would you be happy to put your accounts in the hands of the accountant who sends you inaccurate bills?
A recent survey found the following occupations were rated as ‘very high’ or ‘high’ for ethics and honesty by just 25 percent or less of the Australian population: Car Sales; Advertising; Real Estate; Insurance Broking; Stockbroking; Politics; Journalism; Financial Planning.
They’re all seen as jobs that can be lacking in substance – where style and profile is put ahead of providing value to clients.
Are you someone who puts a lot of effort into presentation, branding and profile?
On their own, there’s nothing wrong with putting effort into those areas – but if it’s not matched by a commitment to deliver value for clients then you risk eroding the trust of your clients.
How you present yourself and your business will have less impact than how you behave when it comes to clients’ trust levels.
Without clients, your business doesn’t exist.
There’s no value in what you sell – products or services – unless you have a paying customer.
That’s why the customer is always the most important part of your business.
You may believe this, but do you and all your team act according to your belief?
Look at your business from a client’s perspective.
If you were a client of your business, would you know you were more important than anyone else? Or, would you feel the business has other priorities more important than your own?
Some banks, telcos and retailers are notorious for ignoring the importance of customers and putting their own interests first. You can no doubt think of your own examples.
How far would you trust them to look after you? Be careful you’re not going down the same path.
Is it time to do a ‘trust audit’ of your business?
This article was originally published on MYOB’s blog, The Pulse. For more business news and tips, visit www.myob.com/blog.
"The last couple of years at batyr has seen incredible growth and the Balance at Work team has supported us along the way. They have helped us improve leadership skills across the team by helping us source and manage mentors, and even engaging as mentors themselves. As a young and fresh CEO Susan has also supported me personally with genuine feedback and fearless advice to achieve great things."
Sam Refshauge - CEO, batyr
"We used the Harrison Assessment tools followed by a debrief with Susan, for career development with staff, which then allowed us to work with Susan to create a customised 360 degree review process. Susan has a wealth of knowledge and is able to offer suggestions and solutions for our company. She is always ready to get involved and takes the time to show her clients the capability of Harrison Assessments. "
Jessica Hill - Head of People and Culture, Choice
"Balance at Work are the ideal external partners for us as they completely get what we are trying achieve in the People and Culture space. Their flexibility and responsiveness to our needs has seen the entire 360 approach being a complete success. The online tool and the follow up coaching sessions have been game changers for our business. The buzz in the organisation is outstanding. Love it! Thanks again for being such a great support crew on this key project."
Chris Bulmer - National GM Learning and Development, ISS Australia
"We use Harrison Assessments with our clients to support their recruitment processes. We especially value the comprehensive customisable features that allow us to ensure the best possible fit within a company, team and position. Balance at Work is always one phone call away. We appreciate their valuable input and their coaching solutions have also given great support to our clients."
Benoit Ribe - HR Solutions Manager, Polyglot Group
"The leadership team at Insurance Advisernet engaged Susan from Balance at Work to run our leadership development survey and learning sessions. Susan was very professional in delivering the team and individual strengths and opportunities for growth. Susan's approach was very "non corporate" in style which was refreshing to see. I can't recommend Balance at Work more highly to lead employee and team development sessions."
Shaun Stanfield - Managing Director, Insurance Advisernet