I’d rather go to my usual grocer who gives me fresh produce, personalized discounts and is familiar with my regular grocery buying behavior, than a fancy retail store whose ads do nothing other than boast. In fact, the next time I visit the market with a friend, I would tell them to go to bhaiyya.
That’s what taking time to build trust can do for your business.
Here, the story of Ashok Kumar, the CEO of Scripbox and his founding team would be apt. In a short time span of 4 years, he has succeeded in building a Financial Services brand that people trust.
Now when someone speaks mutual funds, not many of us pay real attention (I don’t). This can be partly blamed on the fact that the information available is so full of jargons that an average person doesn’t understand. Or maybe blame it on them ads where the guy at the end reads “Mutual funds are subject to market risks..yada yada”, at speeds the Flash may find tough to beat. Not really reassuring.
But Ashok had found success by investing in mutual funds. So he thought he’d make it easy for others as well. That’s how he became a part of Scripbox. Because in India, managing your personal finances is not a skill that’s taught anywhere.
Ashok and the team realized that their industry was a niche one, with only one crore of our huge 120 crore population actively investing in mutual funds. Out of this, 70% were first-time users. The initial years of their operations, therefore, were spent on building trust.
But again, can you really just trust people with your money? That too, online? There are a few simple rules that are at play here.
In financial planning, there’s a problem of unlimited choice, with limited or no education to guide you along. Psychology suggests that if people are given less options, they are more likely to buy something than if they are given hundreds of choices.
There are around 8000 types of mutual funds out there. It’s really easy to get lost in all that. To prevent this, Scripbox brought down the choices to just 8, making the decision process shorter and simpler.
Team Scripbox never bombards a prospect’s inbox unnecessarily. Rather, they wait for a visitor to view the website at least three times, before a mail was sent out. They also made sure that the mails would educate the prospect on what they want rather than push sales.
This patience finally paid off in the form of prospects’ trust.
Let me tell you the story of Ankit Chowdhary, the founder of iService. The go-to kid when your gadgets get broken, Ankit was quite popular in college. The unfortunate breaking of the iPhone his dad had bought for him led to a frantic hunt for spare parts around the country (iPhones weren’t as prominent a few years back), and fixing it himself.
Soon his skill translated into his business and he graduated out of fixing phones from his home for pocket money to a full-fledged business. He began to gather customers slowly.
The key here was that the services he provided were prompt and efficient.
They never set unrealistic expectations for the clients, and always delivered on what they promised. As a result, both trust and customer base began to grow. People who had gotten their phone fixed began telling their friends about it.
This one time, a guy visiting his friend in Goa recommended iService, because the said friend was in the middle of a broken iPhone crisis. So strong was the recommendation, that he ended up travelling to and fro from Bangalore, simply to get his phone fixed. Not only was he satisfied with the service, he stated that the entire encounter cost him less than what was quoted by other dealers.
Ankit attributes almost 50% of his clientele to word of mouth (which is the birth child of trust, of course).
Now this is tricky and at the same time pretty simple! We have already agreed upon delivering on your promises. Make them feel that they have placed their bet on the right brand/product.
Now with Scripbox, Ashok’s team used to add value to his customers as well as prospects by writing about topics that they might relate to. Topics like, “6 proven ways to buy happiness with money“, or something like,” Are you financially ready to face something like the Chennai floods?”, catches a visitor’s attention and gets them reading
They subtly emphasize the necessity of investing to a prospect and reassure a customer that he made the right choice, in a language that he understands.
Similarly, iService, cements the trust by actually understanding and acting upon how people feel when they break their prized phones.
Ankit compared breaking a phone to a medical emergency. The same feelings of panic and nervous anxiety arise (after all, we are way too dependent on our phones, aren’t we). By constant reassurance that the product was in safe hands and delivering the fixed phone in the shortest time possible, Ankit managed to assuage their fears.
Lending a sympathetic ear, while they ranted about how they broke their phones in the first place, also provided a sense of fortitude.
Of course, this makes sense for some kinds of businesses (definitely did for iService). Placing his office in a busy Bangalore road with loads of traffic and visibility helped their cause.
Yes, building trust takes time, and is not easy. Sometimes making a quick buck, without investing in a long-term relationship is just simpler to pull off. But before you fall in that trap, think about what you are losing by not investing in building trust. What if you don’t follow Ashok and Ankit’s example?
Would you win in the long-term? I really doubt it. There are many stories of how loss of trust brought businesses down.
Chances are you’d lose out on competition that was more empathetic and focused on building value instead of force-selling. And maybe instead of referrals, you’d be getting bad reviews.
Now Scripbox enjoys being the 2nd most influential financial services brand on LinkedIn. But, that’s not overnight. It’s a result of all the initial years they spent to build trust. In the past 4 years since they set shop, Scripbox has gotten most of their customers over the past year.
Ankit continues to be one of the top players in his market. He still continues to address grievances personally, and has succeeded in turning several bad reviews into actual referrals, by just initiating an honest dialogue.
You think it’s all coincidental? Nope. These guys are onto something. This is the power of trust.