This is so simple it’s almost not worth mentioning, but its so important it must be. Our business is all about trust. Our customers are putting the fate of their businesses in our hands. For those of us located in India or any other off-shoring location, our customers are putting the fate of their businesses in the hands of foreigners in a foreign place with foreign names and foreign customs. Like the fact that someone figured out that you can eat lobsters is a testament to the power hunger, the fact that someone figured out this off-shoring thing could work is a testament to the profit motive.
The quest for profits is obviously very strong, so strong in fact many of us have begun to think that it’s the only factor that customers consider when they buy things. Well if that were true, no one would be using iPods or wearing a Rolexes, or driving BMWs or shopping at Nordstrom. And, if it were true in the business services business that we are in, Accenture would not exist nor would Goldman Sachs, nor Fedex nor IBM. But they do, so what’s going on? You could say that what’s going on has to do with branding and that would not be far from the truth, but if you go deeper I think you find it’s about trust. Both consumers, who do not have the profit motive, and businesses who do, trade with brands and companies that they trust.
We in marketing, in sales and in the delivery chain for BPOs and Call Centers need to focus our efforts on trust-building and trust-earning. Seth Godin (who writes the marketing blog I wish I did) brings up an aspect of trust in his recent entry “Shipping and Handling” suggesting that customers won’t do business for long with mail order companies who hide there profit in S&H charges. I think he’s spot on about this, I know from my own experience that I always avoid eBay auctions where the S&H charges are inordinately high. We don’t trust businesses that pile on hidden charges (banking industry, are you listening?) and we think twice before patronising them a second time once burned. I think it’s healthy and a good idea to take a look at our pricing, at our policies and at our flexibility with our clients to ensure that we are building trust.