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Executive Interviews: Interview with Richard B Chase Building trust
February 2011 - By Dr. Nagendra V Chowdary


Richard B Chase
Richard B Chase
is considered the founder of
the field of Service Operations Management.



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  • What is trust according to you and why do you think it is so important for the companies and companies' boards to renew and rejuvenate their trust-related dashboards?
    In my view, trust is the belief that a person will behave ethically, and be true to his or her word. I frankly don't believe that adults should be taught to be trustworthy, anymore than I believe that we should have a course or training in ethics. Every religion teaches some form of golden rule, and good parents preach and model trustworthiness. The only dashboard you need is one that tells management and employees that X% of your customers trust you. Anything less than 100% is cause for alarm.

  • Companies have to build trust not just internally - amongst all the immediate and extended (MNCs having operations in several companies, companies having off-shore operations, etc) employees - but also amongst all the stakeholders. How do you think companies should go about designing a unique and very organized DNA that would ensure it very high trustworthiness amongst all employees and stakeholders?
    It's pretty simple really. Own up to mistakes and keep your word. Virtually every violation of trust by individuals or corporations becomes worse when they try to spin their way out of it.

  • However, building trust amongst customers is the biggest challenge that any company faces. What according to you are the best ways to build trust amongst customers? Are there any lessons from fairly long-lasting brands such as P&G, Nestle, Louis Vuitton, GE, Unilever, Rolls Royce, etc?
    See answer to question 2. Also, high trust companies such as these stand behind the quality of their products.

  • How to build trust in online businesses like e-Bay, Amazon.com, monster.com, ecch.com, etc?
    Make contacting the company easy to do. This means not only making websites easy to use, but have representatives staff the phones. Too many companies want to force their customers not to talk to them! What some companies such as Rackspace (a third party internet provider) do is have every call answered by a live person...no long menus to get to what you want. They also have enough operators on hand to prove that "your call is important to us." Rackspace has found that they get fewer calls since customers trust that they can get phone help anytime and feel comfortable using the website.

  • The world's financial markets nearly collapsed in 2008 fall for one reason: lack of trust. Even big banks refused to lend to each other because they didn't trust they would be repaid. What do you think the banks, The Fortune 500 companies, the regulators and policy makers and the researchers should learn from 2008 financial crisis? What are the trust-related lessons from this crisis?
    You can't trust companies where the processes which underlie their business are so complicated that no one really understands how they work. I'm no expert on the banking system, but I believe that the banks entry into brokerage businesses left them as untrustworthy as guardians of depositors' money.

  • Trust is essential to building enduring connections with employees, suppliers, customers and the communities in which businesses are carried out. How do you gain trust? What does it take to build trust? What behaviors and management practices deepen trust to create lasting impact, greater confidence, and sustained success?

1. The Multi-Branding Strategy Case Study
2. ICMR Case Collection
3. Case Study Volumes

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