From a brick and mortar world to a virtual world, establishing trust between business and client will always be of paramount importance. The transition between transaction and relationship is bridged by trust. Our core values at Citrix Sharefile are built around trust and we would not be the company we are today if we did not devote ourselves to this principal.
Establishing trust does have its challenges and the road from transaction to relationship can take time. By embracing these client challenges, we come to a level of understanding with our clients unmatched in the technology sector. Adopting this strategy has created an organic growth in a six-year span resulting in 20,000 paying corporate customers and 3 million business users spread across more than 100 countries around the world.
The first step in embracing client challenges is starting off on the right foot by negating potential issues. This is accomplished by connecting with the customer on an interpersonal level. Connecting with the client goes deeper than a name and e-mail. Establish a rapport by not only finding the client’s needs, but their ambitions and goals. More importantly, find out what keeps them up at night. Go beyond being a mere solution. Create a sense of relief for them by doing business with you. The topic of security often comes up when we first engage with a client. We put their fears to ease when we elaborate on our audited data centers and encryption that ensure the privacy of confidential files during transfer and in storage.
Credibility is essential in building trust with a client. This can be attained by sharing past experiences with past or current clients. Experience in a number of different markets will position you as versatile and a problem solver. Further, you will be perceived as agile and nimble and not prone to canned solutions versus customized. We have been fortunate to work with a number of industries such as architecture, biotech, healthcare and manufacturing. A diverse client portfolio establishes us as a leader in virtualization, networking and cloud infrastructure.
In order for a client to fully establish a sense of trust, it’s important to know how they communicate. There are a number of options on how to communicate; yet too often it’s assumed everyone communicates the same way. When you first engage with a client, one of the last questions asked should be “How do you prefer to communicate?” Ask them if they prefer face-to-face, phone, e-mail, text, etc. Establishing clear lines of communication on their terms vastly improves the level of service you can provide. Sometimes offering an option to communicate will not only improverefreshing alternative to phone or e-mail. This feature offers another way our clients can communicate with us as well as position us as client-friendly business in an industry that is sometimes perceived as impassive.
Do you know your client’s level of competence in what you provide? Does this matter? Wedged in between communication and trust is familiarity with your client’s level of competence. Building relationships is about your ability to identify and initiate working relationships and to develop and maintain them in a way that is of mutual benefit to both yourself and the client. In order to do this it’s critical to find reference points that your client may have, or may not yet have, attained. You don’t want to talk over a client’s head yet you don’t want to waste their time by sharing information they may already know. A great deal of time and frustration can be avoided by understanding your client’s level of competence. When we first engage with a client, one of the first questions asked is “Have you ever used file-sharing software?”
The final challenge in gaining a client’s trust is taking action on their behalf. You know your client, you know how they communicate and they feel confident in your abilities. However, making a decision, as opposed to waiting on instruction, can truly test the boundaries of the relationship. As long as it’s in the client’s best interest, making a decision is always the best course of action. If it’s the right decision, you have moved beyond transactional and into relationship. If it’s the wrong decision, take full responsibility and position it as a learning experience. Two of our core values are humility and integrity. Each of these was galvanized by the mistakes we have made, how we held ourselves accountable and how we corrected the mistakes.
As the virtual world continues to change, establishing a client’s trust will become even more challenging. You can navigate through this world unscathed by focusing on growing relationships. Connecting on an interpersonal level, building credibility, establishing forms of communication, familiarity with level of competence and taking action are all pillars of a relationship built on trust. Once this trust has been established, challenges in the virtual world (or any world) will no longer exist.