Credibility: Worth Its’ Weight In Gold
Tom Magliozzi (co-host of the hit radio show Car Talk) summed up the customer experience when he said that “Happiness equals reality minus expectations.”
In the previous blog post on wordsmithing, we discussed brevity and how a short message can have greater impact than a long one. In this post, we are covering the third rule in Words that Work; “Credibility”, and why it is so important.
Words define who you are as a company. If the words lack sincerity, contradict facts or fail to live up to what you are selling, you will lose credibility and your customers will go elsewhere. In this case, credibility is synonymous with reputation, and you should guard it as such.
Credibility can be rather simple to establish: Tell people who you are, what you offer, and why they should do business with you. Make sure your company and it’s offerings live up to what you say. Do your best to live up to your company’s stated vision/mission/goal, and people will start to trust you.
If you promise something people pay for, it better live up to that promise or you will quickly find you have unhappy customers who will leave you for greener pastures and cost you a chunk of your reputation when they do. Credibility can take a long time to build, but a very short amount of time to lose.
What to avoid:
Avoid labeling each product as “new and improved” – Stating that every product you release is “new and improved” is a good example of what not to do. Not only will this quickly turn people away unless the improvements are clearly tangible, you risk scorning customers who bought last years model.
Don’t over-promise – It is never a good idea to promise more than the product or service can deliver. If your sales pitch raises expectations too high, the customer will have much higher expectations of your product/service. Even a decent experience will seem lackluster if the promises make it out to be more then it is.
The Hype Train – while more commonly seen in the movie and gaming world, companies often run into trouble generating excitement or “hype” for a product too far in advance of it’s release date. Enthusiasm for a new product will only last so long, and if you release your product months (or years) after initial excitement has worn off, people won’t be as interested. Keep in mind that even if you do release a product in a timely manner after announcing it, the hype you generate will lead to increased expectations of the products performance.
You might be wondering about companies like Apple who in fact do claim each new iPhone as “New and Improved” and generally ignore these warnings. What they are selling is not just a product or service, it is a feeling – a topic for another day.
Remember: Happiness = Reality – Expectations.
Words that Work, can be found at any major retailer that sells books (ISBN 978-1401309299).