I spent many years growing up in a close-knit rural community in the Scottish Borders where trust was a huge factor in our everyday lives; I trusted the local garage and knew they wouldn’t rip me off because I knew the mechanics’ families and friends and other customers – if they did a bad job everybody would find out; I knew which was the best butcher, the friendliest chemist (don’t go in there, they never smile…) and we all certainly knew which was the best pub to go to. Cross-Keys, Ancrum – you know who you are.
And then I moved to Glasgow and a few months later my old car broke down. I didn’t know who to take it to, and couldn’t trust that what they did to it would be worth the price tag. I didn’t have any friends in the area, so had no local knowledge. Similarly I didn’t know which butcher sold horsemeat, and though I didn’t mind which chemist smiled I really did want to find a good pub. So, what did I do? What helped me here in the urban world was to look at reviews online and the increasing number of apps and sites aimed at people like me and looking at social media conversations.
My point? Our new world of online enables us to trust again where we might not otherwise be able to in our growing communities. It brings the offline online and then back off again. It creates a close-knit and trustworthy community where transparency is key and if it isn’t you’ll be found out. This community has no geographical boundaries, it is egalitarian and ultimately it wants the truth. Businesses can authentically engage with us, and us with them. This is a place for business and a place for customers, it is as much of a meeting place as it is a market place. It is truly authentic engagement.
P.S. for anybody else who wants to move to Glasgow I’ve got a phone full of recommendations for all of the above now, including a fab new start-up called Direct Mechanics who come direct to you 😉