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How to build trust in an increasingly automated business world

Photo of Aurangzeb Khan
Author
Aurangzeb Khan
Posted
June 28, 2019
Reading time
4 minutes

Digital natives are entering the workplace and bringing with them a continuously evolving list of expectations. The lines between the traditional B2C and B2B markets are beginning to blur, and businesses need to think bigger than an old-fashioned way of classifying themselves and the markets that they serve.

At the heart of every business is people. From the employees to their customers. We are now in a new era where companies are increasingly embracing a ‘people to people’ (P2P) approach. In a world where authenticity and providing unique digital experiences are the norm, we increasingly want to do business with people that we trust rather than just another faceless brand.

We increasingly want to do business with people that we trust rather than just another faceless brand.

Ultimately, it’s people we know, like, and trust that we like to do business with. Scottish poet George MacDonald once said that “To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.” But how is it affecting the world of business? In our personal lives, we have become conditioned to reading reviews before making a purchase on Amazon or booking a hotel room.

We trust the opinions of others before making a decision. Businesses that secure the trust of their customers can also substantially grow their profits. However, in recent years, we have surrounded ourselves with faceless communication. Emails, instant messaging, and text messages all make it challenging to build trust.

Have you ever read an electronic message and quickly felt irritated, annoyed, or upset? The absence of familiar pointers such as body language and tone of voice makes it difficult to detect emotion or intent.

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Eyes are often described as the window to the soul as they enable you to see a person’s emotions and thoughts by what we see in their eyes. Almost all relationships begin with that moment when we look at each other while talking. When combined with body language, a simple face-to-face interaction will naturally build trust.

Changes in corporate communication

Despite having a wealth of communication methods at our disposal, there are more miscommunications and misunderstandings than ever . We are also reluctant to trust robots or people that think the same way. Although we are surrounded by technology, decisions will be made by people and human soft skills have never been more critical.

Although we are surrounded by technology, decisions will be made by people and human soft skills have never been more critical.

Professional relationships need to be built on trust. Rather than hiding behind our computer screens, video is a tool that is removing the digital curse of miscommunication. Marketers were quick to realize that video marketing enabled them to build trust through videos. The intimacy of video marketing campaigns helps build trust around products and services.

Connecting in a globalized world

Globalized companies now expect smarter collaboration solutions as standard. Trust also remains an essential accelerant in business. The problem is that 90 percent of our communication comes from the nonverbal cues of our body language (55% from visual data, 38% from aural tone and 7% from the spoken word) and we primarily communicate digitally.

In many ways, we have come full circle. Despite being surrounded by technology, businesses are waking up the fact that building relationships in an age of seamless collaboration, only occurs when we can see the person in front of us. Could video also solve these problems inside the workplace?

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Advances in technology are now enabling face-to-face video meetings with a complete 180° field of view. As the camera detects more people in a room, it expands the field of view, making sure that no one is ever excluded, and participants can see every person. By creating a more inclusive environment, seamless collaboration grows organically.

Unlike a wide-angle lens, it can also render a human-eye like video stream. Despite being thousands of miles apart, every attendee can feel like they are in the room. Visual cues such as body language, eye contact, note passing and even whispering can all be observed. Essentially, technology can bring people together and help build trust in the same way as meeting in person does.

Maybe it’s time to retire phrases such as B2C and B2B. In an always-connected digital world, building people to people (P2P) relationships and trust should take priority. By stepping away from our keyboards and smartphones, we can also meaningfully connect and genuinely get to know those who we are communicating with every day.

Building relationships in an age of seamless collaboration, only occurs when we can see the person in front of us.

As the workplace continues to evolve, we can expect artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robots to take away low-level, repetitive tasks. In a highly tech-driven corporate world, human-to-human collaborative environments will quickly prove to be invaluable.

The most critical skills required to succeed in business will be around our emotional intelligence. Listening, understanding, and empathizing with others while making data-driven decisions will dramatically increase productivity.  

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Video communication and collaboration has the potential to break down information silos, geographical boundaries, and bring teams together to make doing business easier. But, it’s not the technology that will provide the special sauce, it’s your people.

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