In this seventh post of the post series “The New Rules of IWMS”, based on the book “What Would Google Do” by Jeff Jarvis, I will discuss the new attitude that underlies many of the successes of Google.

There is an inverse relationship between control and trust

Trust is an act of opening up; it’s a mutual relationship of transparency and sharing. The more ways you find to reveal yourself and listen to others, the more you will build trust, which is your brand. (Jarvis, 2009)

Control on the other hand, is a paradigm from the industrial age, where resources, information, and infrastructure were controlled by a small group of individuals. The more you control, the less you are trusted.

It is fairly safe to say that in the Internet Age trust has become one of the most valuable assets for your brand. The more people trust your brand, the more likely you will get bring in the revenue.

Trust the people

Before the public can learn to trust the powerful, the powerful must learn to trust the public. (Jarvis, 2009).

Due to the internet, power is shifting from the powerful to the rest. With tools to both consume and create, the people already have taken over power.

Facebook and Google are successful because they trust their users, not control them. They are the infrastructure, not the end destination. (and what about poor AOL, Yahoo, etc.)

Just as you would trust a friend, you should trust your customers. Just as you would share a great book review with your friends, share thoughts with your customers.It might surprise you that they could give you a competitive edge.

Listen

Perhaps, one of my favorite words: Listen.

Don’t talk.

Listen.

Your customers are wise. In fact, they are more wise than you will ever be.

Assuming your customers are idiots will be your first-class ticket to failure.

I have witnessed this with quite a few tech firms in the Valley. Because of their many high-tech employees, they seem to have lost touch with reality, and consider their customers as annoying, frustrated, and particularly stupid.

Fortunately, many of the IWMS vendors out there, are really trying to listen to their customers as a valuable source of information. I bet that over the next years the IWMS / CAFM / CMMS industry will see more customer idea generation examples. (E.g. My Starbucks Idea)

What can IWMS vendors learn from this?

Well, in the first place, open up. Don’t treat your customers as children. Even though their questions might seem silly to you, questions are a great way to strengthen the bond between you and your customer.

Secondly, trust the people. Value their trust, keep your promises.

As Robert W. Service states: “A promise made is a debt unpaid.”

Unpaid debts are easy to forget, but they have devastating consequences such as a lower credit score with your customer. When that customer needs to decide on upgrading your IWMS to the next version, or not, the low credit score might cause your customer to walk away to your competitor.

Thirdly, listen. You CAN open your Product Development Roadmap, and have customers participate in developing your IWMS solution. In fact, the more open you will be, and listen to your IWMS customers, the more likely you will anticipate the needs of others.

Remember: Trust is earned, not given…

Resources

Jarvis, J. (2009). What Would Google Do. New York: HarperBusiness.