It strikes me that cornerstone of every single positive human relationship is trust. Friendship, marriage, business partnerships, employee/employer, company/customers relationship etc…
Trust is something you do not get by default. Trust is earned. It is not that you start by not trusting, but rather, you start by reserving your judgment for later time when you have more data points to work with. It is wait and see approach. Trust is then built by making and keeping promises whether explicit or implied. It is easily lost and hardly earned. It is more precious than gold in my opinion. Once you have built the trust you better keep your best kung-fu grip on it.
For a company, having the customers trust is probably the highest mark of achievement. It might be impossible goal, but we should strive. My approach and expectation from anyone working here is to base all customer relations on this: Building the trust. I make promises and I always keep them or if for some reason I cannot, I will ask you to release me from my promise with reasons of why I am unable to uphold it.
The consequence is that you do not make promises you know you will not keep. It also means saying no, to things you know you cannot do or know that will not be done. You will be saying fewer times yes and many more times no. There is certainty in this as well as expectations being reasonably set.
Now, you might be asking yourself, why is he waxing about trust all of a sudden? I believe that all companies have guiding principles, call it principles of conduct. These principles are not what is said or marketed, but what is actually being done. Words are cheap as they say. Mission statements, policies, etc. are all defined by actions. Actions either defeat them or reinforce them. Actions always, always, speak louder than words.
You know what I am talking about. Company says that highest priority for them is customer service, yet when you call, you cannot reach anybody. Or when they say they stand behind their products, but you can’t get replacement when product is broke… This highlights discrepancy between what is being said, i.e. marketed, and what is actually being done. They publicly say they care about their customers, but by their actions reveal what real principle is: they couldn’t care less.
These real principles that company employs in its relations with both customers and employees are often not published or even recognized. Sometimes they are really bad, sometimes they are good, more often they are mediocre and sometimes people are not aware that they exist, but they are always there. Examples of companies aligning themselves to the real principles of their conduct, at least in my opinion, would be Atlassian, 37 Signals, Zappos just to name the few.
My goal with this post is to put into the words principles that guide us at DevComponents. This is the first one.