She was pretty little, younger than the girl in this picture. And she really wanted to hand me the glass and take the money in the same instant, with the same hand if possible. She wasn't yet used to the trust that pervades even the simplest of business transactions. She didn't want to take the money first, but she also didn't want to hand over the lemonade without getting the money. [We worked it out without spilling a drop.]
This interaction reminded me that trust is fundamental, even foundational. The simplest exchange relies on it. I imagine the earliest hominids trying to make exchanges. It isn't easy to transact if one person can't go first. [After all, you don't want spilled lemonade all over the place].
There are mechanisms in business to transact with people you don't know and don't trust, but they're all complicated things, like letters of credit. Even then, we would consider most people foolish to do business with anyone they actually do not trust at all, regardless of how secure the transaction seemed. So even things like credit cards, which resolve many risks related to payment, don't overcome the trust gap. If people don't trust you, they can't do business with you.
Very often, we trust first, and distrust later. You earn the distrust by losing the trust.
What all this means to me is that any loss of trust with your customers is not minor. If you make promises you don't deliver on, you have proven yourself not trustworthy. If you surprise people with hidden fees, you have proven yourself not trustworthy. There are a gazillion ways to erode trust, and really only one a few ways to build trust. You build trust by doing what you say you are going to do and doing it in a fair, open and transparent manner.