Businesses can evaluate customer relationships with “5 Gestures of Trust”

Trust is no longer just a nice thing to have—it’s critical for businesses in the contemporary marketplace to be able to retain their customer base and bring in new customers through great word of mouth.

The Better Business Bureau’s “5 Gestures of Trust, A New Framework to Evaluate Customer-Business Relationships,” is used to help businesses evaluate the relationships they have with their customers and, in turn, build better business experiences.

Businesses can use the report as a tool to identify practices that either increase or undermine customer trust and, ultimately, relationships. They can review the “5 Gestures of Trust” to determine where they are at, target where they want to be and plan how they will close any gaps.

The gestures are, as follows, with examples:

  • Honest: The most fundamental of gestures, it involves telling the truth, or simply being truthful. The business tells its customers what it should be telling them, giving them the information that is important in that moment. Examples: 1) The business asks the customer if they fully understand the transaction before finishing it. 2) The business tells the truth when it makes a mistake, such as through an announcement taking the blame for the incident.
  • Transparent: The business demonstrates its willingness to disclose information that is important to customers, even if it appears to make the business more vulnerable, because it is the right thing to do. Examples: 1) The business shares its processes and decision-making. 2) The business highlights its history and management.
  • Proactive: The business takes steps to ensure customer satisfaction without the customer making the request and responds quickly to customer requests. Examples: 1) The business finds ways to save the customer money through responsive pricing. 2) Salespeople listen to the customer’s needs and make suggestions based on those needs, not on potential sales.
  • Humble: The business believes its success is due, in part, to its customers and the community, treating both as partners, considering them when making company decisions and showing genuine appreciation for any patronage. Examples: 1) The business gives customer service priority over other business tasks. 2) The business protects customers against the choices that may be detrimental to them.
  • Equitable: The business gives its customers equal power in the relationship and any transactions. Examples: 1) The business uses simple contracts, highlighting, and not hiding, the information that is favorable and important to its customers. 2) The business has generous return policies.

The gestures, or lack thereof, can determine whether consumers trust and connect with a business and want to maintain that lasting relationship.