Building Trust – Virtually

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We can sometimes lead you into tangents that talk about the warm and the fuzzy

aspects of business and communication. We believe that relationships, after they’re

established, are to be nurtured if they are ever to grow.

Corporate relationships are not unlike interpersonal relationships – after all, we

still deal with human beings at each end of the communication spectrum. And you’d

think that virtual communication and relationship building would assume a top-

down model by default.

Not particularly. When we’re not all being harassed by spam-bots, the driving force

behind virtual communication is still people. And it takes a lot of TLC to build trust

with your audience to bring them to a point where they will gladly approach you or

refer to you without thinking about it twice.

[The How-To]

1. Listen Yes, you’re in the market to provide solutions, and there’s a time and

place to offer those. But strong relationships are built on the foundations of

strong listening skills. If you don’t have them, then cultivate. Every once in a

while, stop sending active verbal and visual messages and just listen to what

your customers really need. They need the space to express themselves.


2. Be Your Values You may have strong company values written down on

paper, but they mean very little if they don’t translate into reality with

interpersonal interaction. If you value the quality of service you provide, then

the last thing an upset client needs from you is to be rejected or dismissed.


3. Instead of pointing clients to your FAQ page or handout, Respond to

queries, emails, Tweets, “Likes” and comments on Facebook posts, forums

and blog posts with custom replies. There is little worse than knowing you

are not welcome at the place you are seeking a service.

4. Keep Building You don’t stop caring once you know you have a good thing

going, do you? Corporate relationships are the same way, and good will

matters. Go the extra mile. Hand-write your cards. Do something for your

client that extends beyond the typical special-event discount, and do it just to

say thank you.

Your relationships with your customers will always be a reward-based two-way

street, and they will sense your transparency if you choose to display it. While the

process may take a little effort and be a little involved, the relationships you build on

the basis of mutual trust will be rewarding far beyond profit-margins.


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