Build Trust and Keep Promises to Impact Relationships

by placers on October 28, 2022 in Outside Insights


Service is why I founded Placers. Our purpose (why I get out of bed), is to create trustworthy, “Nth Degree” experiences for everyone we interact with.

One of the annual projects that brings me the most joy and satisfaction is selecting a theme for the year. At Placers, we’re pretty practiced at it. Personally, I’ve been trying to get our theme right for 20-plus years.

In 2022, by this time, you may know that our theme is: The Year of Trust. Placers’ employees believe that trust is at the center of all that we do.

Trust means many things to many people. Will you return my call or respond to a web form within 24 hours as your company’s messaging states? That’s one example of trust. Is my data secure when I use your credit card? That’s another example; they both involve trust.

We have found that trust results when our company’s culture and values align with serving our customers with Nth Degree experiences. When our strategy, leadership, and operations demonstrate care about our customers, trust is established. When we repeat those best practices, it’s bolstered.

Q: What is it I find so fascinating in our journey to build and maintain trust?
A: We have the ability to create and influence trust on a macro or micro level.

Many well-intended businesses have upset and even lost valued customers because of breached trust. It wasn’t part of their plan. Something macro was whacked!

Think about the staffing levels of the restaurants or service locations you patroned during the pandemic? They didn’t provide slow, untrained service purposely. Something was wrong on a macro level. Some companies solved staffing issues; most did not. Which is exactly the point: The best companies overcome and maintain your trust regardless of a challenge – pandemic or otherwise.

I regularly share this scaling-up advice: Identify and reimagine one process in your business per quarter. Process improvement helps good people, employed by good companies, keep promises better.
Our big focus has been on improving our customer onboarding process for associates and clients. It had become unwieldy and redundant. It just happened. We needed to simplify and streamline by reducing emails and the number of forms. Using the existing, cumbersome onboarding process required team members to use superhero superpowers to keep promises!

We targeted clear, specific, doable changes. Our mission to refine and improve the situation was immediate, but the process, which included clients, partners, and stakeholders took real time – months!

Trust is fortified by keeping promises and how the recovery looks when there’s a fail. We all miss things. A trust score reflects your recovery and communication when promises are broken. (A trust score? Do you track your trust?)

Trust on the micro (a.k.a. individual) level is more manageable. Just how good are you at keeping promises? How you respond (or don’t) is your personal brand and may carry over to your professional brand.

My friend, Ed Wallace, in his book “Business Relationships That Last” metaphorically compares all relationships to climbing a ladder. He claims that how we help, advise, follow-up, and create value for relationships determines whether you climb that ladder and become a trusted advisor in a relationship; this can be with a client or a family member.

Keeping promises is free.
Keeping promises is your brand.
Keeping promises is all that matters to Placers corporate brand.
Breaking a promise can be overcome.

Breaking a promise should matter more to you than it does to others and the world.
Trust is about keeping promises. Live in a space where integrity, character, discipline, moderation, self-awareness and reflection, and the right habits and tools make keeping promises easier.

How do you fix broken promises?

Come clean and tell the truth.
Get in front of the situation.
Do not make excuses. Fix the thing you forgot to fix.

Work on the problem itself. Have the right habits and way of keeping promises. Use a notebook, or online scheduler.

Opposite The Crowd,” the new book by Placers founders and presidents Alan and Chris Burkhard, is now available in audio version. Order your audiobook now to gain knowledge about creating a unique culture – a successful culture by any standard – and one that’s desperately needed in the present. It’s a series of conversations that reveals a way of thinking and a belief system rooted in trust – trust in yourself and others.


If you enjoyed this article, I recommend reading these past Outside Insights posts:

50 Years In Words

50 Principles for Year 50

Eight Books for Your Best Life

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