*Be Honest

Always Provide Timely and Accurate Information to Your Customer…Tell the Truth

Most companies are generally above board about “what” they do. But, with regard to “how they do it”, it’s easy to stretch the truth a little, bend the rules, etc. One piece of advice….Don’t!

The customer will always find out where you fall short. And, when they find that your promises are misaligned with your delivery….they lose trust, and move on to find another provider while they tell everyone they can find how bad you are.

Most of us respect honesty more than the much hyped “perfect delivery”. So, don’t advertise that you have “great service” when you know you fall short.

Take pizza delivery for instance….

I’d rather know that my pizza was going to be delivered in under an hour….with a smile and by someone who doesn’t look like they just robbed a convenience store, than for you to rave about how fast you will get it to me, just to fail 30% of the time. Dominos, on the other hand, makes a living by doing just the opposite. They made a business out of getting the pie to you in under 30 minutes. And, they get it right the vast majority of the time. You don’t see them hyping their driver friendliness, or even that the pizza is the greatest. Nope….just that it’s on time, or it’s on us. No risk of under delivery because everything in their operation is centered around making good on that one promise…speed.

Remember, this truth telling thing all starts with choosing what you can be really good at, perhaps even best in the world at. Then, focusing all your resources on that one thing. Here’s a good example of doing one thing, www.woot.com. That’s right, they sell one item each day in very limited quantities. That’s all they do. Trying to be all things to all people leads to lying, albeit inadvertently. You can’t possibly have the best, the fastest, the cheapest, the coolest and the most simple gizmo all at the same time. Pick the platform you are most equipped to knock’em dead with, and peddle as hard as you can.

While it seems easy to believe you will always be honest with your customer, it is so often the case that you won’t be. Just look around at all of the marketing being pushed down our throats about spectacular products and super customer service. Now, think about the last time you were disappointed in a product or service, the last time you sat on hold for eternity only to be hung up on, the last time you were given the wrong order in the drive through, the last time you bought something at a convenience store and not a single word was exchanged between you and the cashier. Do you think all of these companies set out to fail in the delivery of what they promised you? No….it just ends up that way, mostly because they can get away with it. There’s another customer right behind you waiting to be clobbered just like you. But, these same companies, the ones going down this mythical path and paying no attention to your feedback, will ultimately fail. They can dupe you (and the person behind you) in the near term. But, once they lose your trust, the word gets around. And once that happens, it’s curtains.

I have found the number one lie these days is about the precious commodity of time. Well get back to you in a few minutes, just stay on hold a minute longer, we’ll have that installed in two days, etc., etc. How about telling us the truth, and then exceeding our expectation whenever possible. I would rather hear that it’s going to be a 20 minute wait, only to have you get to me in 10 or 15. Instead, you tell me it’s going to b e 5 minutes with no chance of ever pulling that off….that’s a lie folks. Don’t do it. You don’t earn respect that way.

On the other hand, this mass of mistrust and failure to deliver promises presents a wonderful opportunity for those who do get it right. While these organizations are clearly in the minority, they get people’s attention, and earn their respect and trust. That’s the beauty of it. They get noticed for being different, and the word spreads. If you keep this in mind as you grow, and make adjustments when there are clear signals from your customers that you are starting to slip, you’ll win in the end.

Remember to keep the feedback channels wide open…..stay in touch with your customer!