Right now there are so many unknowns amidst the global pandemic. This worldwide uncertainty about the future naturally leads customers to be less confident in your ability to obtain results for them. When your credibility is reduced, you can lean on other variables of trustworthiness to re-ensure your customer’s confidence in your ability to help them achieve their goals.  

Credibility is the quality of being a source of useful information. Usually, you have a certain level of credibility in your work with customers. Even though your credibility may wax and wane in different contexts, your customers choose to work with you because they believe your advice on how your products and services can help them to achieve their goals.

But how can your customers be confident of your advice right now? You haven’t previously experienced a worldwide pandemic and many best practices are no longer applicable in this scenario. Your customers know this, so how can you continue to be trusted by them despite these uncertainties?

When you’re unable to leverage credibility you can turn to the other variables of trust: reliability, intimacy, and low self-orientation. When credibility is low, intimacy may be the most beneficial variable to leverage.

In terms of trust, intimacy is the ability to make others feel comfortable revealing their own vulnerabilities. One way to increase intimacy is to share one of your own vulnerabilities.

In the case of worldwide uncertainty, you can increase intimacy by recognizing the fact that you are unsure of what will happen in the near future, just as much as anyone else.

This lets your customer know that you’re aware of your vulnerabilities and that you’re willing to admit them. This acknowledgement of your vulnerability will increase your customer’s trust in you and help to compensate for the fact that everyone’s credibility is diminished right now, including yours. At the same time, acknowledging the vulnerability will make your customer more willing to be open to your credibility because they know that you're aware of your limitations.

When your credibility is low, leverage the intimacy variable. If used appropriately, it will increase trust and will also open the door for your credibility.

Thanks to Becca Levine, Head of Customer Success at Honeycomb Credit, for inspiring this article by continuing to be a trusted advisor to her customers, even in these uncertain times.

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