Trust is a strange thing. How does it work? Why do people trust you or don’t trust you or your company? In my 23 years as an entrepreneur I have always found it very hard to relate to why some people trust us and some not.
Being honest, straightforward and reliable does not necessarily build trust is my experience. They seem to build trust when you are becoming a bigger company. All of a sudden people start to trust you, just because you have a certain size. Also in my experience people do not necessarily like it when you are honest. I always have the feeling that people who are about 80% of the “truth and nothing but the truth” are more trusted than people who tell the 100% truth.
One of my closest friends called me “dumb honest” at some point in my life and he was probably right. I used to be very open and very critical about others, myself and my company. And I had to find out that that does not really let people trust me more. Maybe they liked (or disliked) me more but not necessarily trust me more.
So how does trust work then? I have still no real idea but probably the fact that after 23 years (of which 20 in internet related business) we still have a business that grows faster than most is one of the main drivers for trust. Staying in the game all these years seems to build trust.
What in my opinion should be more important are the 4 principles our business is build on:
- A business model that is aggressive and different than our competitors.
- Constant innovation in technology (and our business models).
- High quality support (everybody says that, but ‘trust’ me it is true).
- People first.
When we changed our business model to memberships and started to sell domains and ssl at cost price I got a lot of questions like: “how do you make money?” , “how can we trust that you are still there tomorrow?” etc etc. Tough questions with quite simple answers.
ADD VALUE, BE DIFFERENT
If you don’t add value to a product or service the margins will go to zero. This is happening in the domain registrar world and any other commoditizing industry. Charging a fee for the platform and not for the product is much more sustainable. Combined with investing in constant innovation, 60% of our people are in software development, creates a long-term advantage. It is all about adding value. And we have build a superior set of tools that really add value.
IT DOESN’T MATTER WHERE YOU ARE, IT MATTERS WHERE YOU WANT TO GO
We were small when we started the membership model. Most memberships are from new customers. Meaning from business we did not have before. So we made more profit from the first year we changed and we grew much faster than before. We did not focus on what we had, but decided to go for the huge market that was out there to get.
SUPPORT is PROFIT not COSTS
Many companies treat their support team as a cost center. We treat support as a profit center. That different mindset is one of the reasons why we can grow so fast because it apparently builds trust.
TO GOOD TO BE TRUE?
People think that when something is cheap, probably the service is crap. And in many cases that is true. We are not cheap at all. We charge good money for a great product and give highly rated support on top of that. There are not many Cloud companies that can charge 10.000 euro per year for an administrative backend like ours. The fact that you pay much more than that by paying 30 cents or even several dollars on top of a domain registration is very expensive. Basically we are not cheap but our competitors are too expensive.
One of the things I like most about our business is that we really have started to put our people first. It is a quite well known principle and we did not treat our people bad at all in the past. But nowadays we really focus on people stress and happiness and try to solve the issues where people have simply too much work, do too many routine tasks, or do things that can simply be automated. Most of our projects are related to solving internal bottlenecks. And the cool thing is that by solving these internal bottlenecks the customers benefit as well. Our people can take better care of them because the work that we do is more fun and has more purpose. And the challenge of solving stuff that is bothering your colleagues is really cool!