Trust mishaps don’t just happen with external customers and the public; they also happen internally with employees. A few years ago one major company laid-off a few thousand employees. Rather than meeting with people individually, laying them off with dignity and providing support services, the company had their security guards tell those being laid-off the bad news, gave them their paperwork, watched them clean out their desk, and then escorted the former employees out the door. The employees still working there learned one important lesson that day: Never trust upper management.

Last month, I shared two strategies to increase your company’s trust factor to enhance the bottom line. This month, I would like to share two additional strategies to help foster trust in your organization.

No matter how hard you try, sometimes mistakes will happen and trust will decrease. But rather than accept the lower level of trust, see this time as an opportunity to raise the bar on trust with those who are feeling less of it. For example, suppose you have a major disagreement with one of your key distributors.

You both think the other is wrong. This is when you need to step up and say to the distributor, “We’ve had a long and trusting relationship with you and we don’t want to lose that. What can we do to make you happy?” The answer you’ll hear will likely be more than fair because the conversation has now shifted from a confrontational to a relational one. Everyone will come out a winner.

Have employees, business partners, and customers rate you on trust. You could even have them fill out the trust meter for you. With this feedback, you will know where you stand and can make adjustments. All too often, trust is undermined and the company and its leaders are the last to know, and this can be disastrous. If you are the first to know, you can make corrections before it is too late. This also shows everyone that relationships and mutual trust are not just words, they are imperatives.

Too often, customer service and support are cut back when the economy heads south. People are laid-off with no warning or support. Face-to-face customer meetings are cut back or canceled. But this is a time to do the opposite. When things are bad, relationships become more important! Doing things better stands out more. Becoming a trusted advisor versus a sales person stands out. Going the extra mile is more unique.

When you increase trust, your relationships will deepen and your business will improve.