Being honest with customers

How far do you go if a customer asks you for an honest opinion about their business? Do you tell the truth and risk losing a customer or do you sugar coat and possible deny them the opportunity of resolving issues?

We are regularly asked to comment on our customer’s businesses. While most requests are in passing, occasionally we are asked for a thorough review. If we uncover problems within the business we have to make a judgment call on how far to go with our assessment.

It is easy to say that we should be open and truthful. However, the world does not always operate that way. Some customers don’t want the truth. They would rather either not know about a problem. Others would rather you blame anyone but them. Of course, it’s not about blame.

Our goal is for our customers to have robust and growing businesses thanks, in part, to the technology they use. This is why we welcome engagement on business performance.

We have established an engagement process which works. Openness and truthfulness are at the core of the process. Where possible we use data from the business to support our views.

Our assessments are delivered personally and with care.

This is a difference between our business and a competitor like MYOB or Microsoft. With us, it is personal. We interact with our customers on a personal and enduring basis whereas our big business competitors cannot. So, while delivering bad news is challenging, it is an honour to have such a personal relationship with our customers.

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