Following on from my recent interview, The Twelve Absolutes of Leadership: Interview with Gary Burnison, CEO of Korn/Ferry International, today I am privileged to share with you an interview I recently conducted with Martha Rogers and Don Peppers of Peppers and Rogers Group, a management consulting firm, recognized as the world’s leading authority and acknowledged thought leader on customer-based strategies and underlying business initiatives..

This interview makes up number twenty in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that I think that you will find interesting and helpful in growing your businesses.

I’ve known about peppers and Rogers for some time, particularly through their Think Customers: The 1to1 Blog, so when I reached out to them asking if they’d be interested in doing an interview around their new book: Extreme Trust: Honesty as a Competitive Advantage, I was delighted when they agreed.

Below are some highlights from our interview:

  • Martha and Don are serial authors and have written nine books together. You can check out their catalogue here.
  • The book is called Extreme Trust because they believe that there is a new dynamic emerging where companies will be gauged on how they proactively protect the trust they have earned from their customers.
  • Don used the example of Amazon where they will check if you are buying another copy of a book. Their systems know that you have bought this before and they will check to make sure that you are not making a mistake in purchasing another copy. They call this proactive trustworthiness or in their words Trustability or extreme trustworthiness.
  • The principles of Trustability are: Do things rights, do the right things, proactively
  • The three components of Trustability are confidence, good intentions and proactivity
  • It’s no longer good enough to just be good enough you have to be proactive
  • They ‘doff’ their caps to Drucker who said that management is doing things right and leadership is doing the right things
  • They embellish on this by saying that Confidence is doing things right and Good intentions are doing the right things
  • One of the big challenges that gets in the way of this type of behaviour is “this quarter’s numbers”
  • Companies that fall prey to this and abandon their good intentions risk being competitively vulnerable
  • Two categories: Trustworthiness and trustability – the difference being that trustability is extreme trustworthiness or proactive trustworthiness
  • Companies should follow the Golden Rule – Do unto others only what you would would have done unto yourself
  • Social technologies are putting our social DNA on steroids
  • Social technologies are allowing customers to hold companies feet to the fire and the future will mean more of this not less
  • Chapter 3 of the book goes into the detail of why CFOs will love this approach and not dismiss it as mushy nonsense
  • They believe that every company will be forced by competitive pressures to work on their trustability
  • Great point made when Don said that our accounting systems don’t account for the value lost to a company when they lose a customer due their actions, inability, attitude, policy or incompetence
  • The more customers trust you the greater your ability to create customer loyalty
  • Need to change thinking from how can we make the most money from our customers now to thinking about the customer as an asset and how do we increase their value not just in terms of how much they spend with us over their lifetime but also how many of their friends they tell about us
  • Extreme trustworthiness is about doing things that are in the interests of the customers and not necessarily in the short term interests of the business.
  • Companies playing fair by their customers will build loyalty and trust and make their customers less price sensitive and less sensitive to switching
  • Companies need to go further in thinking about their customer and what matters to them
  • The companies that go the furthest with this idea will get the most repeat business and recommendations
  • This will increasingly become a competitive issue
  • Do you want to be seen to be on your customers side?

About Martha (taken from the Extreme Trust book website)

Recognized for nearly 20 years as one of the leading authorities on customer-focused relationship management strategies, Dr. Martha Rogers is an acclaimed author, business strategist and a founding partner of Peppers & Rogers Group, the world’s premier customer centered consultancy.

Business 2.0 magazine named Martha Rogers one of the nineteen “most important business gurus” of the past century. The World Technology Network cited her as “an innovator most likely to create visionary ‘ripple effects.’” Martha’s counsel and insight are regularly sought by Fortune 500 and Blue Chip executives. Her experience in documenting customer value, and her expertise in applying “out-of-the-box” thinking makes her equally popular among the global media, engagement planners, event organizers, as well as corporate and association leaders who are eager to learn more about customer-centric concepts and methodologies. Dr. Rogers’ thought leadership and presentations routinely focus on the business issues that today’s global enterprises are grappling with, while trying to maintain a competitive edge in their marketplace.

You can follow and connect with Martha on Twitter at @Martha_Rogers

About Don (taken from the Extreme Trust book website)

Recognized for almost 20 years as one of the leading authorities on customer-focused relationship management strategies, Don Peppers is an acclaimed author and a founding partner of Peppers & Rogers Group, the world’s premier customer-centered consultancy. Don’s vision, perspective and thoughtful analysis of global business practices has earned him some significant citations by internationally recognized entities. The Times of London has listed him among its “Top 50 Business Brains”, and the United Kingdom’s premier marketing organization, the Chartered Institute for Marketing, included Don among its inaugural listing of the “50 most influential thinkers in marketing and business today.” The World Technology Network has cited Don as an “innovator most likely to create visionary ‘ripple effects.’”

Don has a popular voice in the worldwide media, and has launched a video diary of his global business observations, entitled ”Peppers Unplugged.” This up-to-the-minute commentary is available at www.1to1Media.com. Don is also a noted expert blogger for Fastcompany.com. His compelling, clear and concise way of articulating his insights places Don in high demand as both a speaker and a management advisor. His counsel is regularly sought by Fortune 500 executives and entrepreneurs seeking to identify and retain their most valuable customers, increase customer satisfaction, and improve the financial results on the customer-facing side of their business.

You can follow and connect with Don on Twitter at @DonPeppers

You can pick up a copy of Martha and Don’s new book here, learn more about Peppers and Rogers here and 1to1 Media that Martha mentioned in the interview here.

Thanks to notsogoodphotography for the image.

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