Building Trust In a Challenging Retail World

With all that is going on in the world at the moment, fake news, the banking royal commission and various political issues here and overseas, trust is becoming harder to build and maintain. When you then look at retail and the brands that are struggling or closing it’s no wonder customers are hesitant with where and how they spend their money.

Trust is essential to firstly get customers to come to your store, buy from you, tell others about your great service and return again and again. Yet how do we build trust in today’s challenging retail world?

I believe that trust is critical for success in retail. We all love brands we can trust, they make us feel comfortable and safe. And that’s what we need our customers to feel when they come into our stores. Trust is much easier to build face to face, which gives traditional stores a massive advantage over online, they just have to do it consistently and follow some basic principles.

I came across this excellent TED talk from Harvard Business School professor Francis Frei. Frei believes that trust is the foundation for everything we do. But what do we do when it’s broken? In an eye-opening talk, Frei gives a crash course in trust: how to build it, maintain it and rebuild it — something she worked on during a recent stint at Uber. “If we can learn to trust one another more, we can have unprecedented human progress,” Frei says.

Frei outlines the three pillars of trust being:

  • Authenticity
  • Rigour in logic
  • Empathy

Frei suggests that if any of the three pillars is wobbly then trust is challenged. She has found that empathy is the one that is most common for wobbling – “Without revealing empathy it makes everything harder.” She outlines the basic principles of creating empathy, which is quite simple:

  • look at me
  • listen to me
  • deeply immerse yourself in my perspective.

These are the simple steps that all exceptional salespeople follow consistently. They focus on listening to their customer and dig deep to uncover the problem they need fixing. As well as creating the right atmosphere for the sale this is an excellent process to create empathy and build trust.

Great leaders also follow these simple guidelines, they find the time to listen to their team and dig deeper to uncover underlying issues and what really makes each individual tick. This is where they connect on a deeper level creating loyalty and admiration from their team.

The talk also includes ideas on how to improve the other two pillars, authenticity and rigor in logic. Well worth investing 15 minutes to improve in this critical area.

Roger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Ultimate Retail Sales Experience” With over 35 years’ industry experience, Roger Simpson is recognized as Australia’s #1 Authority on customer ROI in the retail industry and as a global expert on staff coaching, customer service, and selling skills.