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Customer strategy pillar 2: Integrity

Customer strategy pillar 2: Integrity

What it means

Integrity is the lynchpin of a customer-led strategy. It's the bedrock for trust without which everything falls apart. It doesn't matter how adept your organization is at knowing its customers or how reputed it is for its services; if you are found to be corrupt, untrustworthy, or unable to fulfill customer promises, your end users will take their business to someone they can trust.

Why it matters: The byproduct of integrity is trust. And trust is what holds everything together. As KPMG discovered in its 2019 Me, my Canadian life, my wallet study, Canadians are inherently wearier then our global counterparts when it comes to trusting their institutions. They aren't as willing to part with their personal data for fears of becoming the next victim of a hack or data breach. Herein, demonstrating one's integrity is critical to building and maintaining that trust.

56% say that trustworthiness of a brand is a leading driver of their brand loyalty.

What it looks like

Integrity is demonstrated through every customer interaction, be it an online order, an in-store transaction, or an in-office consultation. It is demonstrated in the professionalism with which your frontline staff conducts themselves and their ability to provide accurate and relevant advice. It's investment advisors who offer consistently credible advice, telecommunications firms which avoid billing 'surprises', or big brands that deliver on even the smallest promises.

Companies that demonstrate integrity also go to great lengths to solve problems. They don't make excuses or put up barriers between customers and fair resolutions. They ensure every end user has a direct line to representatives that will treat them with fairness, empathy, and respect.

Those that excel in this pillar also demonstrate that they aren't merely focused on their bottom line. More and more, customers want to know they're supporting organizations who are using their skills and influence to improve their communities, promote ethical business practices, and foster a fair and rewarding workforce.

31% of Canadians wouldn’t share their data for anything, including money.

The challenge

Integrity takes a long time to build up and seconds to destroy. Social media has introduced a degree of risk to one's brand that most organizations have never dealt with before. One person's bad experience today can quickly become tomorrow's viral post, and one errant tweet or Facebook post (public or private) can land an entire organization on the wrong side of the news. Companies must be ready to act on these situations, as well as apply the customer lens to their business decisions.

Integrity takes a long time to build up and seconds to destroy.

Where do you stand?

  • What is your first impression? Is your team acting in the organization's best interests? Do they respect your customers and seek to provide meaningful service at every interaction? Are they aligned to your values and goals?
  • What do you stand for? What does your organization believe in? What values does it hold dear? What causes does it champion? Customers want to deal with companies who care about more than profit, so what actions are you taking to demonstrate that?
  • How are you ensuring quality? What are your quality control issues? How do you handle errors or missed expectations? What checks and balances are in play to make sure you aren't breaking your promises to your customer? If you do make a mistake, how do you show your customer you are both owning and driving the resolution?

When you are ready,

let's do this.