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Honesty is Always the Best Policy


This factor is critical to your business. Just as in your personal life, honesty is the best policy in your customer relationships, as well.  This is especially when you find you have a problem with your service. This is really important because it sets the tone, for the future of your relationship. When problems arise, look at them as opportunities to earn and build upon your customers’ confidence.

There are two reasons this is possible.

  1. Some customers never know how good a product or service is until they experience a problem.
  2. Solving that problem can strengthen the relationship by physically and emotionally demonstrating your concern, integrity and commitment.

Now – let’s look at how you handle this. You have two choices. One is good and one is not so good.

Choice One: Hope the customer doesn’t discover it.

Choice Two: Bring the problem and a solution to the customer’s attention.

Hopefully, the first choice is obvious to you as a mistake.

Acting along the lines of #1 is hiding the truth. When you hide the truth, it never ends well. A cover-up shows that you do not respect whomever you hide the truth from enough to admit your mistake. They will forever forward question the quality of your services and your integrity and – obviously – that is bad for your relationship and your reputation.

Acting along the lines of #2 doesn’t solve all the problems or mitigate all the risk associated with service problems, but it has a much greater potential of resulting in customer satisfaction. The opportunity to show your genuine concern and earn your customers’ respect is worth any potential draw-backs.

The decision that you make at this “moment of truth” will shape the customer experiences that you deliver from here on out.

So any negativity produced in this situation can be minimized by:

  • How you present the “truth”. Can you make an emotional connection with your customers?
  • How you resolve the problem. Does the way you resolve your problem address all of your customers’ concerns?
  • How you actually resolve the problem. Do you deliver what you promise?
  • If you close the loop. Do you follow-up to make sure that your problem resolution really does work for your customers?

It is easy to revert to email or voice mail in this type of situation, but this is an important moment to personally connect with your customers and effectively convey your genuine concern that problems are resolved to their satisfaction.

You need to:

  • Explain the problem without fixing blame. Accept personal responsibility.
  • Listen to your customers and acknowledge their concerns. Doing this in person will help you understand how to better deliver your solution.
  • Always use a course of action in addressing your problems. Make sure you address the root of the problem and your customers’ concerns.
  • Keep your promises so the confidence that your problem resolution has earned you will last far into the future of your customer relationship.
  • Follow-up with your customers so that they continue to see your genuine concern for their satisfaction and you will earn their confidence in your integrity.

How you conduct your business is a mirror to your customers of what type of person you are.

(Photo Credit: © All rights reserved by KisforCalligraphy)

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