This week I had the privilege of going to see Guy Kawasaki speak. His presentation was on his book Enchantment, and he talked about the 10 key aspects of being enchanting to people. Overall the speech was fantastic, and if you are interested in hearing it you can listen to the same presentation here.
Instead of doing a whole recap I want to talk about one of the key points he spoke about; trust and its place in the customer/merchant relationship.
To be trusted, you must first trust.
As customers, we often overlook the amount of trust that businesses have in us. They trust that when we walk through aisles of goods that we won’t take or break anything. Nordstrom trusts its customers so much that it famously allowed a customer to return used tires. Many internet companies (like Zappos) trust the consumer so much that they offer free shipping both ways on merchandise bought online. Apple trusts that you won’t e-mail the MP3 you bought to all of your friends, and many local retailers trust that when you walk in their store you will buy from them and not try to save a few bucks from buying the same thing online. Amazon trusts that you won’t abuse their ebook return policy (which is 7 days from purchase…more than enough time to read the book) and Netflix trusts that your DVD really did get lost in the mail. The great companies trust you, and for that they all have millions of satisfied customers who in turn trust that they are getting a fair deal when they shop with these companies; as a result all of the companies are very highly regarded and very highly profitable.
On the other hand; think of Blockbuster, who didn’t trust the customer and used absurd late fees to “encourage” that the customer return the video on time…they were recently purchased out of bankruptcy for pennies on the dollar. This is just one (easy) example out of many.
In business, as in life, trust is usually rewarded; your customers, coworkers, and bosses all appreciate it and remember it. Sometimes you’ll get burned from the 1% of people who will break your trust, but that is no reason to stop trusting the other 99%; you and your business will be better off for it.
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