INBOX INSIGHTS, October 26, 2022: Building Trust, Amazon Reviews Data

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How Do You Build Trust?

How do you build trust? Consistency. Let me explain.

A question I get asked a lot is, “How do I delegate more?”

Which is usually followed up with something to the effect of “I don’t trust that anyone can do it the way that I can”.

Sound familiar? Yes, me too. I’ve been there.

Today we’ll focus on the 2nd and 3rd Ps. People and Process. I’ll also introduce the 6th and most overlooked P, Patience.

Trust, at its core, is the belief that someone will do what they say they will do. They tell you the truth, even when it hurts to hear. Think about the people that you trust in your own life. If they say they will meet you somewhere, or show up at a certain time, they do. They have demonstrated that they will follow through, or communicate with you if they can’t. And they do this over and over and over. And when someone breaks your trust it’s because they didn’t do what they said they would.

Now with that in mind, think about your team and the statement, “I don’t trust anyone can do it the way that I can” – which leads back to “how do I delegate more?” This is a solvable problem.

First, let’s get back to trust. Trust isn’t all or nothing. It’s a spectrum. There are levels of trust that you can have with people. There are people you can trust to get your coffee order right, and then there are people you literally trust with your life – and everything in between. When thinking about your team, you probably need a level of trust that falls in between a coffee order and something that is life or death. You want to be able to trust someone to execute your plan on your behalf the way that you would.

So how do you do this? Hint, I gave you the answer earlier. And if you’re thinking to yourself, there is no way I can trust my team to do what I do – please keep reading.

Process. That’s the key.

Whaaaat? That sounds so simple!

That’s because it can be. Process is the key to building trust with your people. Building trust starts with you, not with them.

You, the person that needs to trust, need to build a process. You need to document what you do and how you do it. You need to set clear expectations on what you want and when you need it. These tactics are why trust doesn’t happen. Not because the team can’t execute, but because you didn’t give them the tools to be successful.

Remember when I said the people you can trust are the people who tell you the truth, even when it’s hard to hear? You can trust me. I am telling you that you’re the reason you can’t trust your team.

Now, are there instances where people lie, cheat, steal and burn bridges? Of course. I’m not naive. But that’s not what this particular post is about. I do want to acknowledge that even when you give someone everything they need to be successful they can’t or won’t be. But that’s a topic for another day. I promise to cover it at length.

Back to the point – you.

In order to start the process of trust building so that you can feel comfortable delegating, you need to determine what it is that you need from other team members. Once you know what that looks like, communicate it to them and give them a chance to try it out and make mistakes. If you have something you’re struggling to delegate it’s likely because you have taken the time to practice and perfect it to your liking. You need to give others the chance to do the same. This also takes time. Be patient. If you want to delegate today and want something perfected yesterday, you and your team are not set up for success. You’re going to fail. Patience is HARD. I know. I can be very impatient. But when you are training and building up your team, you have to find even a kernel of patience. Otherwise, this will be a waste of your time and theirs.

I have found that the most successful relationships start with this process. It starts with you, defining the process for the tactic, documenting it, and communicating it. You set the expectations and then follow through with constructive feedback. Lather, rinse, repeat. Building trust takes practice and consistency from both sides. Trust is not a one-way street. Your team needs to trust that you have given them all the information they need to be successful. And like any relationship you have in your life that is good and trusting, it takes consistent work. And patience.

Now go out there and delegate this shit out of your tasks!

How do you build trust with your team?

Come tell me about it in our free Slack group, Analytics for Marketers »

– Katie Robbert, CEO

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Data Diaries: Interesting Data We Found

In this week’s Data Diaries, let’s do a bit of lateral thinking. What do data sources like Amazon reviews tell us? What sorts of things might they indicate? There’s the obvious conclusions, of course – ratings and reviews influence purchase decisions. However, we might use publicly available data like ratings and reviews for other purposes.

Let’s take the example of the Yankee Candle brand. These are fairly expensive (about US$20 or more per candle) candles that come in a variety of jars, and are known for their strong scents. Walking by a Yankee Candle store in a mall is never subtle, like someone taking a perfume or scent, spraying it on a baseball bat, and hitting you in the face with it as you pass by. You know when you’re near one.

They’re also sold on Amazon. Now, one of the characteristics of COVID-19, especially in the 2020-2021 variants, is its impact on your sense of smell. Two conditions – anosmia, or lack of a sense of smell, and parosmia, or a distorted sense of smell – are prevalent, especially in people with Long COVID. What would it look like if we examined Amazon reviews for Yankee candles? Would we see this impact?

To find this out, we extracted 41,150 unique reviews from Yankee Candle’s top 10 Amazon USA products, and then tagged reviews mentioning terms like “no scent” or “no smell” and variations thereof. What did we find?

Amazon reviews summary

What we see is fairly stunning – the number of reviews complaining about a distorted or absent smell correlates very strongly with the number of COVID cases in the USA. In fact, the correlation coefficient for this analysis is 0.72 – a very strong correlation. Looking at the chart above, the blue bars are the complaints and the red line is the number of reported COVID cases.

In fact, you’ll note that review complaints seem to begin to go upwards just before the reported cases – meaning that complaints may be a useful leading indicator that COVID cases are on the rise. This is especially helpful to know since testing data has become unreliable in many parts of the world.

This lesson alone – that user-generated content could have predictive power over matters of health and wellness – is useful by itself. However, if we wanted to bring it full circle back to marketing, let’s look at the average star ratings of these Yankee Candles:

Yankee candle ratings

What we see on a month by month basis in the blue lines is that once COVID started, the average candle rating dropped by almost an entire point, from an average around 4.0 to an average of 3.0-3.5. If you’re a marketer at Yankee Candle, this should be an object of immediate concern – ratings and reviews do enable sales, and you’ve got a widespread condition that is dampening people’s enthusiasm for your product and diminishing your reputation.

The key takeaway here is that user-generated content is a goldmine of useful insights for not just direct sales and marketing of your product, but for seeing how macro issues could be impacting your business as a whole. Be on the lookout for non-traditional data sources to analyze and lend additional insights to your business.

Methodology: Trust Insights extracted 41,150 unique reviews from Amazon.com’s top 10 Yankee Candle listings, filtering for 30 different combinations of complaints about scnet.. The timeframe of the data is January 1, 2018 – October 24, 2022. The date of study is October 25, 2022. Trust Insights is the sole sponsor of the study and neither gave nor received compensation for data used, beyond applicable service fees to software vendors, and declares no competing interests.

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