Third party trust: who's keeping your promises?

As a business, you’ll constantly make promises to investors, partners, customers and suppliers, and rely upon a wide range of relationships built on trust every single day. Likewise, others make promises to you that you rely upon when managing your business. Commonly with these types of relationships, your own reputation is very much in the hands of others. 

From offshoring to outsourcing, companies today work with an increasingly long and interconnected chain of third parties which has increased exponentially in the digital economy. The unifying link in this chain is promises. If your business finds it difficult to keep promises, trust begins to erode and it will be tough to continue growth in a competitive commercial world.  Promise and profit can be conflicting objectives. Demanding customers, regulators, suppliers, activists, investors and analysts all drive a business to make promises. Factor in the interests of suppliers, internal departments and subsidiaries, combined with the pressure to be profitable, and the margin for error in delivering your promises is exponentially increased. High profile events such as contaminated food chains, poor labour hire practices, oil spills, the illegal dumping of toxic waste, human rights violations and over-billing are examples of issues and vulnerabilities.  They represent a broken promise and worse, an opportunity for your competitors to take advantage. The reputation risk, as well, is significant. 

Your reputation, and the trust it inspires, is a core component of every relationship that is critical to the success of your business. As such, the protection of your good name is a strategic and commercial imperative.   Promises are made between people, not organisations or contracts. Trust can only exist where there is a clear line of sight between the promises you make and the people who are accountable for delivering them. 

Signs that it’s time to take action  

There will be trigger moments in your business that should prompt action:  

  • Unexpected losses on customer contracts such as write-offs or problems when billing for changes in the scope of a project.
  • A high profile third party issue within your peer group. 
  • Strategically important business change involving third parties such as outsourcing, transformation, mergers and acquisitions.
  • Third party supplier underperformance leading to a loss of trust with your customers.
  • Technology failures resulting in customer disruption.

How we can help: 

Building resilience into your promises requires more than single solutions to deliver what’s required. Through us, you have access to the breadth and depth of our skills, expertise and knowledge and can draw on multiple competencies to develop and maintain third party trust. 

  • We work with senior management to understand your ecosystem of promises and relationships and identify which ones matter most. 

  • We embed into your operating model a focus on understanding and keeping promises. We engage cross-sector to bring you the relevant insights. 

  • We work with you to influence your third parties to keep your promises.

  • We help you improve related policies, processes, data and technology. 

  • We bring a tried and tested tool kit and expert team to help you rapidly identify what matters.

Contact us

Clare Power

National Leader, Third Party Trust, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 (3) 8603 2360

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