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September 12, 2017

Trust-Building

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Whether building a new home or office, trust between the client and contractor plays a key role in project performance and outcomes.

In the International Journal of Business and Social Science study, Trust: The Missing Link in Construction, University of North Florida Professor Robert Soares, PhD, explores the lack of trust in construction firms. Soares finds this distrust often leads to unsuccessful completion of projects.

As Alcoa-based general contractor Hickory Construction celebrates 40 years of serving clients this year, the company has a keen understanding of trust and relationships—so much so that its motto is “Building trust on performance.”

Hickory Construction Chairman Burke Pinnell has spent decades leading the company and finds a reputation of trustworthiness is critical to sustaining a presence in the industry, particularly when working in local communities or regional areas, where trust issues can undermine brands quickly and with long-term effects.

Hickory finds these three tips help build trust, with advice that’s applicable to companies and managers in any industry:

  1. Demonstrate integrity by keeping your word. Simply, “Do what you say you are going to do”

In a 2014 study by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, researchers found that exceeding a promise isn’t viewed any more highly than keeping a promise. They concluded that promises can be hard to keep, and promise makers should spend their time wisely and make an effort to keep them.

When communicating with clients, deliver on what is communicated to the client. If the client doesn’t believe a company will keep its word, there will be an element of distrust and defensiveness that can hinder the construction process.

  1. Convey competence through a high level of expertise.

A large part of reputation and trust is the ability to provide expertise. Significant experience, impeccable craftsmanship, attention to detail and professionalism convey competence. Companies with strong training programs reinforce their employees’ ability to build knowledge over time – and to reflect that knowledge in their customer interactions.

In the Forbes article How to Build High-Trust Relationships, writer Margie Warrell describes competence as an element necessary in building trust. Companies that possess competence are more likely to exceed expectations and have better performance.

  1. Show reliability by being consistent.

Inconsistency erodes trust. Hickory Construction often has repeat clients who had a positive experience their first time in working with Hickory, and as a result, they know they can rely on the company to provide solid service and performance from project to project. Keeping quality standards and work ethic the same on every project also demonstrate reliability.

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