Extreme Trust: Honesty as a Competitive Advantage


If you accidentally try to order the same song twice from iTunes, you’ll be warned that you already own it. Not because it would be illegal or unethical for Apple to profit from your forgetfulness. There’s a clear busi­ness reason: the leaders of iTunes realize there’s no better way to make you trust them than to be totally honest when you least expect it.
In the age of the Web, smartphones, and social networks, every action an ...

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Extreme Trust: Honesty as a Competitive Advantage

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If you accidentally try to order the same song twice from iTunes, you’ll be warned that you already own it. Not because it would be illegal or unethical for Apple to profit from your forgetfulness. There’s a clear busi­ness reason: the leaders of iTunes realize there’s no better way to make you trust them than to be totally honest when you least expect it.
In the age of the Web, smartphones, and social networks, every action an organization takes can be exposed and critiqued in real time. Nothing is local or secret anymore. If you treat one customer unfairly, produce one shoddy product, or try to gouge one price, the whole world may find out in hours, if not minutes. The users of Twitter, Yelp, Epinions, and similar outlets show little mercy for bad behavior. The bar for trust­worthiness is higher than ever and continuing to rise.
Don Peppers and Martha Rogers argue that the only sane response to these rising levels of transpar­ency is to protect the interests of customers proac­tively, before they have a chance to spread negative buzz—even if that requires spending extra money in the short run to preserve your reputation and cus­tomer relationships in the long run. The payoff of gen­erating extreme trust will be worth it.
The authors show how this trend is playing out in many different sectors. Among their insights:

  • Banks will soon have to stop relying on overdraft charges, because depositers will expect advance warnings of low balances.
  • Retailers will be expected to remind shoppers when they have unused balances on their gift cards.
  • Credit card companies will have to coach customers on avoiding excessive borrowing.
  • Cell phone providers will win more business by helping customers find the cheapest calling plans for their usage patterns.
  • Health insurers will make recommendations based on improving long-term health, not increasing their revenue.

The companies that Peppers and Rogers call “trustable” remember what they learn from each inter­action, and they use these insights to create better and better customer experiences. They focus on win­ning the long-term battle for trust and loyalty, even if the dollar value of that trust is hard to quantify.
For instance, in 2009 Best Buy launched Twelp­force, a service that responds to customer questions and problems via Twitter. It’s manned part time by more than two thousand employees. In its first year of operation Twelpforce responded to nearly thirty thousand inquiries—which not only improved cus­tomer service but also helped educate and motivate the associates who participated. The short-term profit might be small but the impact on trust is enormous.
With a wealth of fascinating research as well as practical applications, this book will show you how to earn—and keep—the extreme trust of everyone your company interacts with.
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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
“‘Trust is the new black.’ We all rely on those we trust, and that’s particularly true when it comes to business. Extreme Trust talks about how trust is increas­ingly critical in business, and how trustworthiness, or its absence, has become increasingly visible. It discusses what trustworthy behavior means in business, and how to change corporate culture to make it more genuinely trustable.”
—Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist.com
“This book is a must-read for anyone leading an organization. The future is com­ing and it’s coming fast. Peppers and Rogers’s insights and advice will lead you through this remarkable time of change. Simply indispensable.”
—John Costello, chief global marketing and innovation officer, Dunkin’ Brands, Inc.
“What I loved about this book is that it forces the reader to stop using tradi­tional ways of looking at business value (efficiency, productivity) in order to understand the trust crisis. And the further I got, the more I realized it really is a crisis. Lack of trust in business is almost something we now take for granted, as a normal cost of doing business. It’s why the exceptions are so remarkable. Extreme Trust has shown us not only why it is so wrong that we take that for granted, but why it is so costly. It’s the first book that really lays out a prac­tical model for the evolution of business—big business—and it is brilliant.”
—Jennifer Evans, CEO of Sequentia
“Despite the shifting sands of time, Peppers and Rogers remind us what we never should have forgotten. Extreme trust is the only foundation to build on. This is the best book yet from this insightful duo!”
—Marilyn Carlson Nelson, chairman of Carlson
“Once again, the remarkable team of Peppers and Rogers nails it. Ignore them at your peril.”
—Seth Godin, author of Linchpin
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591844679
  • Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover
  • Publication date: 4/26/2012
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 716,470
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.06 (h) x 1.16 (d)

Meet the Author

Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, Ph.D., have coau­thored eight books, including the global bestseller The One to One Future. Widely credited with igniting the global customer strategy revolution in business, they are the founders of the Peppers & Rogers Group, a global management consulting firm whose clients have included Vodafone Group, Cigna, American Heart Association, Nordstrom, Absa Bank (Barclays), and HM Revenue & Customs (UK). Globally renowned keynote presenters and boardroom strategists, Peppers is an expert blogger at fastcompany.com and Rogers is on the faculty at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

Visit www.extremetrustbook.com

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Table of Contents

1 Trust: Not Just A Good Idea. Inevitable 1

Yesterday, Trustworthy Was Good Enough. Today, Only Trustability Will Do 2

Trustability: A Higher Form of Trustworthiness 6

Why This Book Is Different from Others You've Read on "Trust" 10

As Interactions Multiply, Trust Becomes More Important 11

Making Whuffie 17

But Hasn't Trust Deteriorated? 18

Our Goal Is to Help You Build a Solid Plan for Succeeding in the Age of Transparency 21

Sidebar: Basic Principles of Trustability in a Business 24

"You're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat" 24

2 Serving the Interests of Customers, Profitably 27

"You've Got Mail": The Wages of Untrustability 28

Banking on Customer Mistakes 30

Netflix: Bad Intentions? Or Incompetence? Or Both? 33

So What Are Good Intentions, Anyway? 37

Is Your Company Trustable? Or Merely Trustworthy? 39

How Companies Use Customer Insight 41

Empathy, Self-Interest, and Economics 43

The Social Role of Empathy and Trust 47

Psychopathic Capitalism 49

Putting on a Human Face 53

Trustability Test 55

3 Trustability: Capitalist Tool 59

Why Your CFO Will Learn to Love Trustability 59

Short-Termism: Don't Worry About the Long Term, IBGYBG 61

Taking the Long-Term View 66

Customer Relationships: A Link to Long-Term Value 68

Trusters and Distrusters 75

There's No Such Thing as One-Way Reciprocity 77

Trustability and Self-Interest: A Paradox 81

Trustability Test 83

4 Sharing: Not Just for Sunday School 87

Value Creation: Invented by Somebody, Owned by Nobody, Valuable to Everybody 89

You Can't Trust Everybody 94

Trust, Punishment, and the "Monkey Mind" 97

Death by Tweet 100

Cooperators, Free Riders, and Punishers 101

Trustability Test 105

5 Trust and the E-Social Ethos 107

The e-Social Ethos 108

How Friends Treat Friends 110

This Blog Post Brought to You By 116

The Kenneth Cole Affair 117

Trustability and Social Production 119

Sidebar: Influencing the Influencers 120

Innovation Thrives Where Trustability Rules 122

Trustability Test 126

6 Control is Not an Option 128

The Illusion of Control 129

Credit Cards, Biases, and Trustability 133

Social Relationships, Cocktail Parties, and Systems 135

Staples Sees a Good Program Die, Defeated (Mostly) by Chance 141

Unarmed, Nestlé Fights a Battle of Wits with Greenpeace 142

Facebook Learns the Hard Way 145

What Could Other Companies Learn from Facebook's Experience? 147

How Employee Autonomy Builds Trustability 154

Dealing with Unpredictability: Embrace the "Chaos of Community" 159

Six Strategies to Succeed amid Rising Chaos 160

Trustability Test 164

7 Build Your Trustability in Advance 166

Customer Reviews Are Essential. And Anyway, They're Inevitable 167

Sockpuppeting for Fun and Profit 171

Workers of the World, Blog! 175

Trustability as a Competitive Strategy 178

The Power of an Apology 182

Sidebar: Recovering Lost Trust 184

Letting Bygones Be Bygones 186

Cultures in Transition 189

Trustability Test 192

8 Honest Competence 195

Competence Is Related to Good Intentions 196

Product Competence and Customer Competence 198

Honest Competence Requires Honestly Competent People 204

Sidebar: Dear Abby 207

Self-Organization and Open Leadership 208

True Confessions: Domino's and the Transparent Pizza 212

Fallibility and Trust 216

Trustability Test 218

9 Trustable Information 221

Can This Information Be Trusted? 223

Science, Trust, and Evidence-Based Management 227

Intuition and Hunches in a Data-Rich Environment 232

Managing for Transparency 235

Trustability Test 237

10 Designing Trustability Into a Business 240

Imagining the Trustable Future 240

Trustability in the Mobile Phone Category 241

Trustability in Prepaid Cards 243

Sidebar: One Customer's Take on Rebates and Rebate Cards 245

Trustability in Financial Services 247

Trustability in the Automotive Category 249

Trustability in the Enterprise Computing Industry 251

Trustability in the Airline Industry 252

Is Your Business Trustable? 255

Can a Product Ever Be Trusted, Really? 257

The Technology of Trustability? 258

Start Planning for Trustability Now 259

Acknowledgments 263

Notes 265

Index 311

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