Credibility is defined by Dictionary.com as, ‘the quality of being believable or worthy of trust.’ Think about the statement: ‘worthy of trust’. What does that actually mean? Before we answer that, let me back up and explain why I am on this vein of thinking.
Facebook keeps recommending ‘friends’ for me because we have 4, 15, 38, 89 mutual friends. Last week on of these ‘friends’ I don’t really know (but know and respect our mutual friend) started messaging me for no particular reason and then it turned inappropriate she let me know that she was…err….lonely. I recommended a course of action and un-friended her.
The week before I had been visiting a client in London to bid happy retirement to my contact of three years and meet the new person. She was amazed that I flew all the way to London just to meet her. This particular client came about as a result of a new employee who had worked with my company at her last position. She was asked who provides what we do and she recommended us. Instant credibility! Since the meeting in London, I’ve heard from another employee needing to get up to speed on what we do. instant credibility number two! Is there anything more credible than an internal referral? External….maybe.
Last week I met ‘the new guy’ at a company where we have been the provider for nearly 16 years (quick – remember Y2K?). The only credibility I had was the past but since he had no frame of reference, he was a little reluctant to just welcome me with proverbial open arms. This is completely understandable. After we chatted for 45 minutes and ran into my last contact in the hallway – who sang my/our praises –he realized I was credible and worthy of trust. Having studied psychology and sociology (and beer!) in college, I was whisked back a bit to the observation post and mental note taking of how the shift happened. If you are reading, thank you for the reminder that credibility needs to be earned on one’s own merits, not just because as ‘he’s a good fella’ as Henry Hill states in the movie of the same name.
So here’s the question about people or companies you do business with:
Do you trust them enough to recommend them to your family/fiends/colleagues? They will all need to decide on the credibility on their own, but would you recommend them in the first place? If so, great, I recommend you do so – I personally love referrals. But if not….. well, why are you working with them?
If you wouldn’t recommend someone to your trusted circle, why are you continuing to spend money with them? Aren’t there better places that deserve your patronage? I’m just asking.
We all work with certain people and companies for a reason; low price, terms of service, recommendations. You define the credibility equation for you. Maybe one store simply has better pricing on commodity products and you’re okay with the lack of customer support. If it works for you, great; that is your credibility. And it is a very different credibility criterion than a hand-holding experience you may get someplace else.
Credibility is very personal and that’s what makes it so great – designed just for you, by you.
Thanks for reading!