Don Peppers speaks to GIBS forum about 'Extreme trustability'

Posted on June 15, 2011

Speaking at the GIBS forum, he likened the trend to the well known “Moore’s Law” in technology, whereby computing power increases exponentially over time.
Using Facebook and other social media as examples, he compared the degree of interconnectedness today to that of a few years ago, noting that the world now conducts over 25 million internet searches per hour. This rise in interconnectiveness results in a massive increase in transparency. As a consequence Peppers suggests that people have started - and will continue - to demand increased levels of trustworthiness from others, especially commercial organisations. Organisations which previously made substantial returns by taking advantage of inattentive, passive, misinformed or error-prone consumers, will no longer be able to thrive.

He used an example of Amazon who, he told the audience, flag the fact that you have previously ordered a book to prevent you from accidentally reordering. No one would have been critical of a company taking a legitimate order based on a customer’s error. However, in today’s environment the expectation is that companies be proactive in their trustworthiness, or in the words of the Peppers & Rogers Group, demonstrate “trustability”. Consumers will expect retailers to let them know when a previously purchased gift card is about to expire, while mobile telecoms companies will be expected to help their customers minimise costs by suggesting better value calling plans. Clearly given the audience reaction, this is still some way away in the South African business environment!

Peppers contends that businesses will have to change from being run “top-down” with rules and processes  to more “bottom-up”, and  self organising (by both staff and customers). This requires businesses to let go of the reins and rely on others to act in the company’s best interest. For companies to compete successfully they will have to earn and keep the extreme trust of both customer and employees.

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