The adage honesty is the best policy is a simple enough idea. Over centuries this phrase has roots in the Ten Commandments in the form of thou shalt not lie and even Aesop’s fable of Mercury and the Woodman. This basic lesson we’ve all learned from a young age still applies when building and maintaining excellent customer relationships.
In the book The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty by Dan Ariely, There are three things people consider before lying or cheating: “(1) the benefit that one stands to gain from the crime; (2) the probability of getting caught; and (3) the expected punishment if one is caught.”
We’ve all done it at one time another: Told the big whopper of a lie that could potentially cause mayhem or even the little white lie about the tooth fairy. It’s human nature to lie and bend the truth, especially when it has the potential to benefit yourself or shield someone else.
When approaching many business situations, people tend to feel it is best to keep their customers in the dark when problems arise. The easy path out of a problem instinctively is to lie and mask the actual problems of the situation. Though this may seem like the best idea, in reality, it is not.
Most clients would prefer that you’re upfront immediately when an issue has come to light. Being honest helps to develop a relationship that has a foundation of trust and respect. This is the first step to a positive client relationship.
Your client is not only purchasing a product or service from your company; they are also signing on for any experience that comes with this purchase. A happy client has the potential to be one of your best marketing assets.
Transparency and honesty can be two terrifying ideas when it comes to the brutal, cutthroat world of business. Each day, opportunities to tell a white lie or to be honest to satisfy a client will cross your path. When you choose to be upfront with a customer, you are likely going to find out they are more understanding than you anticipated.
Once you make that decision to tell one white lie, it’s easy to tell the next lie and the next, but eventually, all those omissions of truth will catch up to you. Consider Tony Award winner for Best Musical Dear Evan Hansen. A few innocent lies about a friendship explodes into fame and everything the main character Evan ever wanted. In the end, all of Evan’s lies implode, and he is left back at square one.
It’s a simple notion, but you should treat your clients in the same manner you would want to be treated by any company. Honesty can be difficult, but it is always appreciated. It has the potential to build a positive reputation in the community and help expand your business. Be honest with your clients, and you too can be rewarded with your very own golden ax.