I was catching up with few friends (and startup founders) last evening. And as the night progressed, I must have used this phrase more than a couple of times.
Perception and trust.
Businesses are built on these. How you, as a business as well as an entrepreneur, are perceived by people who matter. And how much trust does your consumers (sure, investors and your employees as well) have in you.
Everything else is secondary!
I honestly believe in this.
Perception is a marketing problem.
Are you talking about the right things?
Are you talking about those right things in the right way?
Are you talking the right way about those right things in front of the right audience?
Are you talking the right way to the right people about those right things using the right medium?
Creating the right perception about your business is the job of your marketing guy. It is, at the end of the day, more than anything else — a marketing problem.
No. I am not saying you should lie about things. I am insisting that you should know what are the things about your business that will help people (customers, investors, media, prospective employees) see you in the right light. What are the things that will get them all riled up about being associated with you. That is what perception is.
Trust is a customer servicing problem.
Unlike popular perception, customer servicing is not just about post sales queries, or addressing concerns and grievances of your consumers. That is just a part of it. Your customer service includes everything. How your consumer interacts with your system, whether you are able to set the expectations straight, whether you are able to live up to the expectations you have built up using tons of marketing. Addressing the consumers’ concerns does not even come up until the last leg of your consumers’ transactional process.
Think for yourself. I have two cab services. One (Co. A) is quite prompt and hassle-free when it comes to addressing my grievances. The other one (Co. B) takes time, but unlike the first one, when I book a cab from here, I witness a 100% fulfilment rate. The first one, on the other hand, cancels my bookings 15% of the time — and it does that at the last moment.
When I have to book a cab next, who do you think I would prefer going to — Co. A or Co. B? If I have to book a ride to the airport, who do you think I would prefer?
It is a matter of trust — in more ways than one.
Perception and trust. Focus on these two parameters. Focus on them as if your life depends on it. Because believe it or not, it really does. Maybe not yours, but for sure, your company’s.