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Building Trust With The Little Things

Building trust

Hi there, I’m your customer. 

We haven’t worked together a ton yet, but I thought I’d share a few ways you’ve built trust with me.  Trust is the foundation of our relationship, and trust will determine our future together – Whether I place my first order with you…and whether I keep referring other customers to you years down the line.  Every interaction is an opportunity to either build trust (or risk losing it).  I’ve been comparison shopping with Joe down the street, and the difference is huge.

Thanks for picking up the phone  

I love when you pick up the phone.  It makes me feel special, cared for, comfortable.  I know I matter.  You earn my trust every time you answer.  Also, it’s convenient.  If you’re just as easy to reach as a website, I’d rather get your help in person than scroll by myself.

Meanwhile, I never know if Joe’s going to pick up, so just making the call makes me worried I’m wasting my time.  When I hear his outgoing voicemail message, it’s a let-down.  I can tell I’m not a priority for Joe because he’s not responsive.  I wish he’d just answer the phone, every time – like you!

You make me feel welcome 

You always sound happy to talk to me.  You ask questions, you listen to me, you make me feel like I’m the person you most want to be talking to right now.  Sometimes my request is out of bounds of what you can do, and you’re kind but clear in letting me know.  I actually appreciate that, because it means we respect one another’s time.

Joe makes me feel like I’m annoying him.  He knows so much about the products, what can be done and can’t, but I can tell from his tone and his impatience that he wants me out of his hair, and fast.  He makes me feel stupid, like I’m wasting his time.  It’s intimidating, and a little insulting.

You follow up before I even think to

I never have to call you with status updates – you’re always one step ahead.  You told me you’d have a quote by end-of-day, and I have one by noon!  You answer my emails in minutes, not days.  When the order is in progress, right before it occurs to me to check in on things, you contact me, confirming it’s moving along on schedule.  All of these add up to why I can trust you to meet my deadlines.

Not Joe.  He makes big promises and then…well, sometimes he delivers, sometimes he doesn’t.  He’ll respond to one email in an hour and the next will sit for 4 days.  He never gives me status updates, and a few times he’s told me my project would be late – but he waited until the day it was due to mention it!  I don’t think he realizes this sends me a clear message: I can’t count on Joe, because Joe doesn’t care about me.

You connect with me  

I remember the first time we met.  You stood, you smiled, and you complimented my jacket – which made me proud, it was a gift I’d just gotten.  You asked me questions about my project, but also about my goals, and we even talked about how we both love the Lakers.  Since then I feel like we have a real connection – you know who I am, you care about solving my problems.

On the other hand, I’m always starting near zero with Joe.  He remembers I’m a customer, but forgets conversations we’ve had, doesn’t know anything about me, and just gets right to taking my order.  That’s efficient and all, but there’s no loyalty either way. My money is as green as anyone else’s, but that’s as far as it goes.

You Take My Money & Say Thanks

This one might sound weird, but I’m grateful that, when I send you money, I hear back almost instantly.  I get a “payment received, the order’s in progress, thanks for your business” from you without delay.  I never would have thought about how much that matters, except what I learned from dealing with Joe.

One time I sent Joe a credit card payment around lunchtime on a Friday, and I heard nothing back.  Crickets, all through the weekend.  I started to get nervous that I’d sent my card to the wrong person, so I called him Monday morning and he told me, “oh, yeah, I think I saw that.  I’m really slammed, but I’ll send you a receipt later today if I remember.”

When I thought about it, I realized your quick response made me trust you.  Meanwhile, Joe’s “when I get around to it” response to my payment makes me question my own decision to risk my limited funds on this project in the first place.

At first, I wasn’t sure if I could trust you or your company.  But over time, you answered the phone (every time), you followed up with me, you learned about me.  Finally, I was ready to show you that I do trust you, in the biggest way I know how. I took a really big risk, something that made me vulnerable – I handed you a big pile of cash.  Giving money to you before you’ve produced my product is scary.  But once again, you made me comfortable.  You helped me feel like I’d made a good choice.  That’s what trust is about – me knowing I can rely on you.

Thank You

Trust takes time to build.  It’s all of the little things, adding up slowly over time.  It starts with the first impression, and after every interaction I’m either going to trust you a little more, or trust you less.  Thanks for always doing the little things to earn my trust.  With that trust, you’re also earning my loyalty – and, eventually, my referrals!  Sometimes Joe is cheaper than you, but I’m done with him.  I need reliable more than I need cheap.

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