Did any of you catch this BNET blog post on lying to customers. The blogger’s whole premise was “everybody does it”. Somehow, the fact that others are doing it makes it okay?
Rewind — high school. How often did you try this line on your parents? “But all my friends can do it!” “The whole class is going!” Chances are your parents didn’t buy it, and neither should you. The bottom line is, you can follow a crowd right into a disastrous situation.
Fast forward to now — whenever I hear someone say “everybody’s doing it” I notice that it’s usually just another way of saying “I’m doing something I’m not completely comfortable with ethically”. It’s simply a justification for questionable behavior. Our position here at Asage Marketing is to embrace transparency, and avoid the situation of having to lie to your customers by investing in brand integrity.
What does it mean to invest in brand integrity?
Own up to it when you make a mistake, and more importantly make amends! Make the customer want to come back even thought there may have been a problem.
Do your homework. For example: if you are a restaurant, and your customers are looking for gluten-free or other special options, find out how much it will cost you to provide that service, and whether your customer is willing to pay the premium price required. Or, identify an affordable alternative, and promote it.
Work through “what if” scenarios. If you do, you’ll find that you’re much more prepared to address customer issues when they occur, and notice I said “when” not “if”.
Don’t panic when something goes wrong. It’s natural to want to protect your company or brand, but customers know this world’s not perfect. Find a way to communicate that won’t scare people away.
The bottom line is, you can’t protect your brand with lies. Once the lie is uncovered, you’ve lost consumer trust.