At Clinked, we have identified trust, empathy and gratitude as key elements to maintain strong relationships, whether this be client relationships or those who you work with. As we continue to face uncertainty across the globe due to the implications of the pandemic, everyday relationships become more meaningful and important to maintain.
Here, we will explore the concepts of trust, empathy and gratitude in the light of working with clients or teams.
Client Trust During Uncertainty
‘Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.’ -Stephen R. Covey
As a result of the Covid19 crisis organizations have had to swiftly adapt and ‘actively manage their brand presence and identity within the market to maintain a sense of trust and confidence amongst their customers during the pandemic’.(1) Being honest and reassuring with your clients about the status of your company will help to maintain trust during times of uncertainty.
Once a client, trust is built through a company’s ability to competently establish and maintain a relationship to achieve their shared goal - whether that’s through the delivery of a service or product. The activities to accomplish this shared goal will either break or make repeat business. Regular communication is key.
Back in March we identified 3 top areas of focus through our client conversations used to emphasise trust built with clients during this uncertain time:
- Communication: real time updates & availability
- Transparency: identification of immediate challenges & open discussions
- Self Service: readily available access to information reduces uncertainty
In addition to client trust, employee trust in their leaders remains important. Harvard Business review highlighted the 3 elements of trust to be:
- Ability to create Positive Relationships
- Good Judgement/ Expertise
The study found that if a leader scored at or above the 60th percentile on all three factors, their overall trust score was at the 80th percentile.(2)
Leading & Connecting with Empathy
‘Empathy is a quality of character that can change the world.’ - Barack Obama
To maintain strong relationships, one needs to lead and connect with empathy.
Empathy forms one of KPMG’s ‘6 Pillars’ to achieve Customer Experience Excellence, alongside integrity and personalisation.(3) In a time of crisis, leading with empathy is essential. When living through periods of uncertainty showing empathy helps you be more relatable and will help manage client expectations.
According to studies carried out by Development Dimensions International (DDI), empathy is the single most important leadership skill.(4) Particularly when living in uncertain times, communicating with empathy is important- if you can show you care now employees and clients will feel more confident that your care is genuine and consistent. (4)
The ability to understand the needs of a client forms part of an empathetic approach. Good customer service is built on listening to what your clients want rather than enforcing opinions on them. This is shown in the words of former marketeer and award winning garden designer Pollyanna Wilkinson: "The key for a designer, in my opinion, is not to impose your own taste on your clients. It should always be about what they want – after all, it's their garden”. (5)
Interested in designing your own client’s experience on a client portal? Watch our webinar
Gratitude: Benefits of Being Thankful
‘Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough’. - Oprah Winfrey
It is important to appreciate those you work with. Due to the strange year of 2020, 57% of people surveyed said they were experiencing greater anxiety. (6) Gratitude is an emotion that is grounding and can counter negative emotions caused by uncertainty. Research implies gratitude plays a large part in helping individuals and teams persevere in challenging times.(6)
According to Harvard Business Review, questions that can trigger gratitude include (6):
- > What opportunities do I currently have that I am grateful for?
- > What have I gotten to learn recently that has helped me grow?
- > Who at work am I happy to see each day and why?
We wish everyone in our Clinked community the very best in the challenging times we're in! Remember, that no matter how you're expressing gratitude - from virtual events & phone calls to household-only gatherings - this year, it's the giving of it that matters.
Curious how you could do more with your clients? Schedule time with our team to discuss on a demo today: