Journey of a Serial Entrepreneur

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How to get from where you are to where you want to be

5 Components to build Trust

“Self-trust is the first secret of success.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

This series started with a post regarding how the trust I had in PayPal was shaken when my account got compromised. In life, our trust in people and businesses will often be tested. That is life, and we have to accept it. The fact of the matter is, without trust, we would not get far in life. The trust building process comprises of several components. Each of them plays a vital role in the process, and provides us with  benchmarks to help achieve the level of trust required. 

1. Integrity: Integrity is based purely on the actions and decisions we make in life. They reflect who we are and what we stand for. Three measures to use to benchmark our own level of integrity are ; firstly, are we congruent in our thoughts, words and actions? The second one is, do we honor our promises and commitments to ourselves and others? The last one, do we possess the courage to stand up for our values and beliefs in the face of resistance? These questions can serve as a guide to learn more about personal and business integrity levels. To read more about trust and integrity please click here.

2. Competence: Competence is a pre-requisite for the process of trust building. An individual or business is deemed competent in a particular skill set when they have proved themselves adequately. However, for a new startup, without a track record, this is a challenging task. Competence needs to be communicated through actions in a younger team. Using academic credentials, talents and skill sets or references can be used to help prove a younger team’s ability and capability. To read more about trust and competence please click here.

3. Consistent Communication: We have all come across businesses where senior management says one thing, middle management says another and the customer service representative says something completely different. When there is inconsistency in communication, building trust will be an arduous task. As younger startup companies, we have to instill the importance of consistent communication, from the beginning of our operations. This includes the alignment of senior management’s agenda, marketing strategies as well as how customer service representatives are supposed to interact with clients. To read more about the importance of consistent communication and trust please click here.

4. Genuine Concern: An individual or business can have high levels of integrity, be competent and communicate with consistency, yet, a lack of genuine concern for others or your customers, will dramatically slow down the trust building process. I believe a genuine concern for your customer with honest intention is the ‘x-factor’ in the trust building process. It is important that we get a deep understanding of our clients needs and wants and craft our strategies around them. It is only when we are able to communicate the importance of this component to the rest of the team in the form of actions will we actually notice results. To read more about trust and genuine concern please click here.

5. Results: Results and past performance speak louder than any number of words. The world today benchmarks each and everyone of us to what we have achieved. Therefore, as young entrepreneurs, we must pay a great deal of attention to proving ourselves and showing tangible results. These can be in the form of academic achievements, extra curricular achievements or projects where we have documented results. It is important to become result and action oriented. When an individual has a reputation of getting the job done well, the ability to gain the trust and confidence of peers, investors and customers is enhanced. To read more about trust and results please click here.

Building and maintaining trust is a challenging task. It requires constant attention, and the slightest of slips in our behavior has severe negative impact on the level of trust. As we all know, once a vase is broken it can be put back together, but it will never be the same. The components talked about in this post are foundational elements in the trust building process. When we have the trust of a customer or friend it dramatically changes the dynamics of the relationship, to one where a lot more can be achieved. As entrepreneurs, we must strive to develop a reputation of one who can be trusted. This will have a phenomenal positive impact on the level of business as well as your life. 

Filed under: Advice, Communication, Inspiration, Trust, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

PayPal Account Hacked

“Are you kidding me!” Usman Sheikh

This is going to sound ironic…this week’s series was to be about trust and its importance in life and in the world of business. Trust is hard to gain, by the same token it is extremely easy to lose. After today’s incident, PayPal has lost all credibility and trust with me it may have gained over the last couple of years that I have been using their service. This afternoon my mailbox was suddenly flooded with authorizations for payments from multiple individuals whom I had never heard of. My first reaction was that it was one of those fraudulent emails which wants to swipe your information etc. However, once I checked the sender and saw it was PayPal themselves, my heart jumped a couple of beats. There were multiple payments in excess of a couple of thousand dollars.

I first placed a block on all transactions with my bank account and PayPal. Next I tried to figure out the maze of forms which need to be filled, to alert them of unauthorized transactions. Finally, I got a rep on the phone. The first one I spoke to was helpful and managed to calm me down substantially. We got a lot of the paperwork out of the way and she was quick to assure me that they would do all that was possible to get the money back. Midway, the call dropped, I got reconnected to another person at the call center. This was awful, she must have had a bad day or something, and instead of calming me down, was totally inconsiderate and wanted to put down the phone as soon as possible. This is not an attitude a distraught customer wants to be facing. Anyhow, finally got everything submitted and now it is “under review”.

I will keep everyone updated about the progress and have posted this to alert all PayPal users who read this blog to go and check their accounts, and request for the Verisign security key to safeguard your account from similar activity. This is not an isolated case, I found this article which goes to show that there is obviously a significant loop hole somewhere in the system, and it is being exploited. Please be very careful, and if you are not using your PayPal, unlink it from your financial sources. In the end, it is incidences such as these, which totally decimate any shred of trust and credibility with a service provider.  Negative feedback tends to spread a lot faster, and it could result in a mass exodus of customers, if such service providers do not take appropriate measures and actions to stop and help customers when such incidents occur.

Updates:

- September 17th: Was on the phone with around 3 customer service representatives and have lodged an unauthorized transaction report.

- September 19th: Paypal sends a survey requesting information regarding their phone support service. At-least they are showing initiative to making their customer service better, which by the way needs a lot of work.

- September 22nd: Received partial refunds for some of the unauthorized transactions. However my account has been locked and I am told by their customer support that my money is going to be withheld for 180 days! I understand Paypals point of view to control the level of risk, but I don’t think this should be a rule applied across the board and should be handled on a case by case basis.

- September 24th: One of the fraud claims has been refunded to my account. 4 more to go.

- September 29th: The remaining four claims have been refunded. I have to say that I am impressed how fast Paypal managed to resolve these claims. I may return to using their services sooner than expected.

Filed under: Customer Service, Trust, , , , , , , , , , ,

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