You’ve probably seen it. The customer who’s just waiting for you to screw up. The tour passenger who is itching for one thing to go wrong, the legal client who has a whole list of complaints just waiting for the first bill that comes in higher than it should, the boss who hovers, glee in his eye as you work to make a deadline.
In fact, if you’re human, it’s probably been you once or twice.
As a marketer, one of the most beneficial things you can do is get people to give you the benefit of the doubt before you start delivering a service or a product. Here are five brainstorms to get you started:
- Be the underdog. Nextel or AT&T? Nextel often got the benefit of the doubt.
- Build up expectations of difficulty. Magicians are really good at this. If people think what you’re doing is really difficult, they root for you.
- Underhype. If others are building you up day after day, it’s easy to root against you. The Germans have a word for everything and they have a word for this: schadenfreude.
- Call them on it. If you think people are being perfectionists and not giving you a chance, ask for one. It’s easier to ask for a chance to excel than it is to ask forgiveness if you fail.
My favorite way to get a chance is to give one. Organizations that are a little more flexible with their customers (and grateful to them) often get a lot more flexibility in return.