“The way to earn trust is by doing hard things well, over and over again,” Jeff Bezos once said.
As a relatively new entrant in the MENA region, we make it our foremost priority to earn and keep the trust of customers as we build for the long term. Just as trust is hard to earn, it can be easily lost. Our fulfilment network at Amazon works to ensure customer orders are delivered on or before the promised delivery date, over and over again.
During the peak shopping season, when we see an increased volume of orders, this consistency of on-time delivery becomes even more important. Earning and keeping the trust of employees is equally important. Employees need to trust that they will be empowered to do their jobs in an environment in which their wellbeing and safety is always prioritised. The work environment, systems, tools, processes and leadership work in unison to enable them to fulfil customer orders while staying safe and having fun along the way.
Sandra Sucher and Shalene Gupta from Harvard Business School have studied trust for two decades. Their book, The Power of Trust, says: “It’s almost impossible to imagine a company being able to be trusted by its customers if it’s not trusted by its employees.”
Earning customers’ and employees’ trust is undoubtedly precious. Research shows people are seven times more likely to buy from highly trusted brands, and that people who work in high-trust companies experience 74 per cent less stress and 50 per cent higher productivity. As we enter the region’s busiest shopping season, here are my thoughts on earning and retaining trust.
Do what you say, and say what you do
Earning trust is not always about saying yes and being agreeable. If you think something needs to be done differently, or some expectation is impossible to meet in the short term, it is always preferable to respectfully say ‘No’ early, giving the reason why. People respect transparency, and while they might initially disagree, in the long term they will respect and trust you. We believe in remaining ‘stubborn on the vision, but flexible on details’.
Do hard things consistently well
A great example of earning customer trust by doing hard things well is Amazon Prime. We promise our customers speed, and then the entire fulfilment network works with precision to honour this promise. Maintaining this level of on-time delivery even during peak season requires several months of planning and flawless execution – building capacity, hiring additional resources and conducting stress tests to ensure a high bar for execution.
Lead with empathy, especially in tough times
Particularly during peak periods, as the volume of operations scales up, there will be unexpected ‘curve balls’ making it difficult to deliver to plan. During such times, it is particularly important to trust the team because everyone has the positive intent to do the best they can.
We have to lead with empathy, understand their barriers, and collaboratively problem solve to resolve the issue quickly without laying blame. Leaders must stay calm and always in control, leading from the front to focus on the issues. We call it ‘attacking the process, but engaging the people’.
As we head into peak season this year, I feel confident that we will be able to retain trust of existing customers and earn the trust of new ones. As it says in The Power of Trust: “When trust is in the room, great things can happen.”