Be consistent to inspire trust
To get employees and customers to trust us, we need to be consistent in what we do individually as leaders and in what our organizations do as a whole.
Our people are always watching us, and they’re taking their cues from us. So, we need to communicate and act consistently. Learn how leadership principles can form a solid foundation for consistent leadership.
And customers form opinions of our company from every little thing we do. A single small deviation by each person in our organization can produce thousands of disconnects which make our brand unclear and confusing. So, we need to make sure everyone in our organization interprets and reinforces our brand appropriately and consistently. (Consider using a Brand Touchpoint Wheel.)
Everything matters. Everything communicates. This video shows how to ensure consistency across all interactions and touch points.
As business leaders, we need the trust of employees and customers – and right now, we’re not doing a great job at either. According to data analytics and brand consulting company Kantar Group, only 38% of consumers trust companies’ advertising. And, according to Edelman, the PR firm, over a quarter of employees (28%) say they don’t trust their employer.
In a previous video, I explained how brand authenticity can help build trust. Being consistent also inspires trust -- consistent in what we personally do as leaders and consistent in what our organizations do. We must recognize that everything communicates, and we must be consistent across all interactions and touch points.
As individuals, we need to be consistent in our communication. We should communicate the same messages to everyone day in and day out. We may get tired of saying the same thing over and over again, but studies have shown repetition and consistency are critical to comprehension and traction.
We also need to be consistent in our behaviors – always role-modeling the attitudes and behaviors of our desired culture. We shouldn’t say one thing and do something different – nor should we act one way with our peers or bosses and another way with our employees. And in a hybrid environment, we need to treat people fairly and consistently whether we’re in person or working virtually.
This doesn’t mean that we can’t be creative or personal. We absolutely should flex our style to be appropriate for the situation we’re in or the person we’re interacting with. But our leadership should always be grounded in a consistent set of values and we should make sure our expectations and goals are clear and well-established.
This is particularly important during times of crisis or change like now. Not knowing what is expected of them adds unnecessary stress to what our employees are already feeling, and the confusion caused by inconsistent direction wastes time and resources which are already in short supply.
At the organizational level, consistency is just as important, especially since there are so many different ways that customers come into contact with us now. And every touch point represents an opportunity to make a “deposit” in our brand equity -- thus leaving a positive, differentiating, and valuable impression -- or to make a “withdrawal” from our equity with a disappointing, unmemorable or inappropriate experience. And generally speaking, the big things we claim about ourselves in advertising or PR have far less impact than all the little things we do, or fail to do, in other touch points.
So, all touch points must be aligned and deliver a consistent experience for our customers. We do this by ensuring that everyone in our organization understands their impact on the customer – even those in back-office functions. Just think about how the invoice and payment process can influence whether or not a customer thinks we’re easy to do business with.
Or, if we operate out of a retail location, what our parking lots and restrooms say about our company’s attention to detail and care for customers. Everything everyone in our organization does must interpret and reinforce our brand values appropriately and consistently.
Being consistent is about sweating the small stuff at the individual and the corporate level. No detail is too small to overlook. And when we are consistent, we produce clarity, which increases people’s confidence in us and, ultimately, it inspires their trust.