How to Build Trust With Your Customers

The more our customers trust us, the faster we can get work done. And the faster we get work done, the more profitable our survey and engineering business is. Therefore building customer trust will directly increase the profitability of our business. 

So how do you build trust with your customers?

Be a Trustworthy Person

customer trust1In order for someone to trust us, we must be a trustworthy person. We must be credible. In his book The Speed of Trust, Stephen M. R. Covey lays out four cores to credibility. These are at the foundation of customers building trust in us. The cores are:

1. Integrity
2. Intent
3. Capabilities
4. Results


Integrity is made up of four virtues: honesty, congruency, humility, and courage. Honesty means telling the truth, even when it hurts you. Congruency means living according to your own values. Humility means caring about what is right, not who is right. It includes looking out for what is good for other people, not just for you. And courage means doing the right thing even when it’s not easy.


Intent reflects what we truly value. Even if we mess up our words, people will still get our meaning if our intent is right. Covey breaks intent down into three pieces: motive, agenda, and behavior. Motive is why we do what we do. If we are looking to build trust, the best motive is truly caring about people. Seeing others as people, not as objects. Agenda is what we do. The best agenda is honestly seeking win/win arrangements–what is good not only for me but for others too. Win/win or no deal. Behavior is implementing our agenda. It is how we do it. People see and judge us on our behavior. Our true intent will always shine through our behavior.


Have you ever known someone who is nice, but incompetent? Having integrity and intent are not enough; we have to be competent. We have to have the capabilities to get the job done right. That means we have “the talents, skills, knowledge, capacities and abilities … to perform with excellence.”


customer trust2We can’t hide from our results. If we don’t deliver, we have no credibility. People won’t trust us. That’s the harsh reality.

Stick to your task ’til it sticks to you;
Beginners are many, but enders are few.
Honor, power, place and praise
Will always come to the one who stays.
Stick to your task ’til it sticks to you;
Bend at it, sweat at it, smile at it, too;
For out of the bend and the sweat and the smile
Will come life’s victories after a while.
—Author Unknown

Talent, genius, and education mean nothing if we can’t get results.

Make Deposits, Not Withdrawals

We have a bank account with each of our customers. The balance isn’t in dollars; it’s in customer capital. We can make deposits and withdrawals, but withdrawals are always bigger. When the account is empty, it means we have zero credibility with our customer.

The fastest way to build the balance is to stop taking withdrawals. And what you consider a deposit may not be a deposit in your customer’s eyes. Covey suggests these 13 ways to make deposits in your customer capital account: 

1. Talk Straight
2. Demonstrate Respect
3. Create Transparency
4. Right Wrongs
5. Show Loyalty
6. Deliver Results
7. Get Better
8. Confront Reality
9. Clarify Expectations
10. Practice Accountability
11. Listen First
12. Keep Commitments
13. Extend Trust to Others

We built Latitude to address several of these deposits, including transparency (extensive reporting), accountability (all actions are recorded), and listen first (full copies of customer requests and communications are recorded in the register).


In a survey and engineering business, high trust equals more efficient work, and therefore a more profitable business. Take the steps necessary to increase customer trust, and it will pay off handsomely.