I launched my website last week after spending a year or so getting things set up (its a niche product rental service for weddings). Its currently just me, no employees. Ive fulfilled two orders but bother were for friends/family, so not a "real" customer. I've had some interest this past week, but I'm having a hard time deciding what image to put forward on my website/emails in terms of company size. Since the product is wedding related, the social proof and the impression of trustworthiness is very important. Customers obviously don't want to take a risk renting something from a vendor that is cleary just getting started. No one wants to think they are the first order - its their wedding. So up until now, all my website copy reflects the image of a company that would appear to have a few employees and a good amount of orders under their belt.
But now that I'm having to respond to customer emails, I waffle between faking the image of a well established (or at least well funded) startup, or being mote honest about the fact that its literally me packaging items at 10pm in my basement.
Customer: Hi, can I purchase this product set instead of renting? Honest answer: I currently only have one of that item in inventory, so you can only purchase it if you only need one (this reveals that I have literally no inventory). Fake-it answer: Let me check with our inventory manager and get back to you.
Customer: Im having trouble booking product XXX. Honest answer: I've updated the product listing and you should be all good now! Fake-it answer: Thanks for the feedback! Our technical team is making updates.
Even something as simple as saying "contact your customer care representative with any questions" or "send all media inquires to our marketing team" seems like I'm lying. But it helps give the customer the impression that they can trust "us" to deliver their product on time for their big day.
What do you guys think? Where is the line between unethical faking, and fake-it-til-you-make-it?