Do you remember the first time you were disappointed by a large organisation?
My earliest memory of corporate greed (we all have those, right?) was what I recall being a few months after Smarties Mini Eggs were launched in South Africa. As a lifelong fan of the traditional Smarties, when the Eggs were announced I have to admit, I got quite excited. I rushed out to the shops and bought myself a bag (or two, don’t judge) and they were delicious. The candy-coated outside was of standard Smarties quality, and the chocolate inside was a deliciously creamy chocolate delight. However, what in my mind was only a few months later (it could have been longer, but the scars are still there) I bought a bag (or two) of Smarties Mini Eggs and they just weren’t the same, specifically the chocolate inside. The original creamy milk chocolate treat I was expecting turned out to be dry, flaky, less sweet, it was a disaster. I chalked it up to a bad batch, and soon afterwards bought another bag from a different store to make sure the trusted Nestle brand didn’t let me – a Smarties flag-bearer – down. But they did. This bag was the same, and subsequent purchases over the past few years were continual repeats of excitement and pure disappointment.
The most frustrating part of it all was that I could never quite understand why they did it. As a kid growing up in a small town, trusting relationships were key. My folks trusted us at home alone from an early age, neighbours were trusted, we roamed the streets as children with no fuss, trust was a foundation for us. So when an initial agreement between two parties (the makers of the delicious bag of candy-coated treats, and me) starts out one way and then changes, I have to admit it was pretty foreign.
These days, between clickbait being a standard operating procedure for news sites, and colddrink manufacturers slowly moving from 340ml tins to 300ml tins and keeping the same relative price (don’t think we’re not watching you guys too!) the world has become accustomed to being built up only to just be let down, Buttercup. It’s a sad state, and has, in my opinion, caused far more skeptism in our society than what I believe should be the norm. Trust in your word and agreements are not what they used to be.
So why am I telling you about eggs, colddrinks and clickbait?
Whether you’re a B2B or B2C business, working with a client means you have an agreement, a relationship, and trust that both parties will do what they are expected to do. Oftentimes though – with time – SLAs slip, SOPs lean to guidelines as opposed to the rules, and representatives slack on obligations because they get too comfortable. So don’t be a Smarties Mini Egg and disappoint over time. Trust is broken extremely quickly. Keep your creamy goodness, hold that trust, and continue to deliver great service.