“The more people trust you, the more they buy from you.’’?–David Ogilvy
I don’t know whether you’ve noticed but recently has been a stream of new books on the subject of trust and how trusts is an all-important factor in any customer relationship.
Well you don’t need to spend much time web surfing the news to realise that trust and business aren’t having the best of relationships at the moment.
A big bank is caught out laundering drug money, another one for fixing the Libor rate. One of the world’s largest newspaper corporations was caught hacking mobile phones and what was supposed to be one of the worlds most reputable security firms drops the ball with only 8 days left before the Olympics.
So it is not not surprising that consumers are skeptical – in fact I guess most of us have a very clear sense that what we see in the media is probably just the tip of the iceberg.
So naturally to many consumers the question remains: Who can we trust who is it safe to do business with?
Many businesses still believe rather naively that it’s all about quality. But being able to deliver a service or product in a decent quality is just the entry ticket – it’s the bare minimum. At the end of the day what is really going to make a difference and ensure that you get the order ( or the promotion) has to do with whether you are ‘likeable’.
That, at least is the point in a new book Likeonomics that has caught my attention.
So is this a book about maximising your friend clicks on Facebook? No, not at all the author Rohit Bhargava makes it very clear that it is about something much more complex and deeper than that.
As he points out there is substantial evidence indicating that relations and not logic drive most of our decisions. Yes – we do take our decisions based on what is convincing and what we believe … But we tend to believe people we like.
So in order to be successful all we need to do is be nice?
No it’s a lot more complex than that – in the book Rohit Bhargava – in great detail and very convincingly argues that there are 5 principles that drive our total likeability score in relation to other people:
Truth – not honesty – but truth in the sense of calling it as it is. It may not always be enjoyable but some of our best friends are in fact that because they are not afraid of telling it the way they see it. In the same way we also tend to admire companies who have the guts to tell us the truth.
Relevance – how does what we do make sense or become meaningful to the receiver. In order to answer that we need to pay attention to what is going on outside of our own world. It also begs the question: relevant to whom? What is relevant to me is not necessarily relevant to you.
Unselfish – to act in such a way that benefits the other or a larger whole but not necessarily getting something in return. Think of a person that you truly appreciate. Has that person ever done something that you would characterise as unselfish? You see… now you know what is meant by that.
Simplicity – here we are talking about the simplicity that exists on the other side of complexity. Think Steve Jobs. Taking what at the time was hopelessly complicated computer operating system called DOS and deciding to make it simple and beautiful.
“I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes.
Timing – Great musicians, actors and players on sports teams all have this in common they are masters at timing. And you only achieved good timing when your maximum aware of what goes on around you. In that way timing is also connected to relevance. Bad timing can easily convert something that was obviously relevant to something that is now totally irrelevant.
I find this whole book fascinating. It inspired me to think about my own approach to life and business but I think more than anything else it has given me inspiration to see this as the ultimate customer service training philosophy.
If we can find a way to get frontline employees and their managers to understand and operate along these 5 principles it will result in world-class service.
I’m going to spend some more time thinking about how to do just that.