My four wheel drive car was having problems with steering at slower speeds, and occasionally felt like it was skidding through turns. I brought it into the garage (really more like magicians at Don and Wally’s), who instantly and correctly diagnosed older transfer case fluid that had lost its viscosity. The oil also needed changing and the tires needed to be rotated. Basic maintenance.
While pulling out my credit card, the owner said to bring the car in after 200 miles to have the lug nuts re-torqued. My eyes narrowed, eyebrows raised, and I asked “why do I need to do that”? She said that aluminum wheels are more susceptible to warping, and they ask their customers to stop by to make sure the lug nuts are still torqued properly after a tire rotation or similar work. “Sounds great” I said. “First time I’ve done that in 162,000 miles. I’ll stop by next week. Learn something new every day.”
In that moment, I realized they have a risk management process to deal with a known issue.
They care about quality, they care about the user experience, and they are experts who anticipate potential risks. By providing a recommendation based upon a best practice, my mechanic continues to earn my trust because she wants to ensure my safety.
How do you earn your customers’ trust?
Something as simple as an email reminding me to change my oil will make me confirm if it is time. On a different scale, an enterprise software company may reach out to key product owners about new features or important security patches that improve productivity or enhance protection.
Use your knowledge to teach others. It will build trust and credibility.
One of the things I’m learning is that I am not giving away the house by providing relevant information. My colleagues, contacts, and potential customers appreciate a useful bit of knowledge that helps them in some way. I had three people contact me after my last post, and they said they will not be able to manage a project anymore without asking if they remembered their pants. That was extremely gratifying, but more importantly, I earned a small sliver of credibility. And they won’t run around half-naked.
When is the last time you taught your customers? Do you share information to make your customers safer or more productive? Does your garage re-torque your lug nuts?