Everyone is always going on about trust.
We wanna earn your trust.
Our customers trust us.
Trust matters to us.
It’s important to us that you trust us.
Dude… You can probably hear my eyes roll back in my head.
Ever since the introduction of the Friedman Doctrine businesses have been run in a very selfish way.
The user is simply a means to an end.
Organic? Sure, if it helps us sell more.
Ruin the planet? Does it increase profit margins? Yes? Then who cares!
Authenticity? Go survey our customers so we can pretend to be authentic in the way they will wanna buy more from us.
Political views? What will resonate most with our customers such that sales will increase?
Ask one of these companies what they mean by trust and you’ll get a lot of mumbling and incoherent sentences.
I suspect that trust used to matter a TON back when entrepreneurship meant being a mom and pop shop with direct eye contact with your customers.
Hard to screw someone over if that someone is Bob your neighbor.
The distinction between the era of craftmanship vs. Big co now, can be expressed in one brief sentence: Skin in the game.
Lots of companies don’t have any skin in the game anymore. They’re too bureaucratic so the person making the call isn’t worried about doing the right thing ethically or even for the business as she is about not losing her job.
And in some situations, it’s even worse. There’s asymmetrical risk, meaning, those companies benefit from the upside while ‘’outsourcing’’ the downside.
If profit maximization is the goal that’s good. If being a human being is at last somewhat important then that’s deeply immoral.
So what does trust mean?
Forget about trust.
Replace it with predictability instead.
There you go, one word.
I want you to be predictable.
I want you to make a promise to me and keep it.
I just had a talk with the marketing department of a large domain name registrar.
They advertise heavily that they don’t do upsells.
That’s an implicit promise that they value the relationship over short term profits.
And guess what they did in real life though…
They ‘’con’’ you out of your email and then pummel you to death with daily email marketing sales messages of some autopilot.
Can anyone say disconnect?!
When I say con, I’m actually not exaggerating that much. They force you to give out your email and then without your permission blast sales messages. That’s not ethical. Doesn’t matter if it’s legal. Instead… WORK for the PERMISSION to email people. It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to speak to someone who’s willing to listen… you can’t betray that. Especially, if you’re pitching hard that you don’t upsell (which means I care more about you than money).
What is the promise you want to make to your customers?
What systems, policies and processes can you put in place to predictably deliver on that promise?