The 3 Best Ways to Deliver the Truth

Today’s guest post is from Alyson Sia. She discusses the 3 best ways a business can discuss issues with their employees, and customers too.[/guestpost]

It’s nice to think that the businesses we frequent have integrity. The truth is integrity, or effective honesty, takes actual hard work that many are not willing to do. Each customer and situation is different, forcing you to adjust depending on who you’re dealing with.

The real risk of losing a deal, a customer or a client “forces” us to be honest. It’s better to be transparent than to hide something that may cause something bad later on.

With that in mind, here are three things to remember about delivering the truth.

1. Listen

Customers rarely come before their need is urgent. They always need it now; they let you know that this is the case – and not always in the nicest way.
Listen to what the customer is “not saying”, and always think about what they need.

Forbes magazine contributor Carmine Gallo explained, “Your customers will only tell you what they think they need, but how you meet their unexpressed needs makes all the difference.”

The company should stay attuned to how customers experience its products and services. Once this becomes a practice, it becomes much easier for employees to know what to do, and know when they don’t.

2. Be (Completely) Honest

The concept of “integrity” has huge significance here. If you think of it as such a big word, it’s because this is a value that usually requires experience for people to learn.

You appreciate the crucial benefits of integrity the longer you’ve been in the game.

This includes being honest in communication as well as in your business practices.

Integrity is recognizing what customers know and believe about your product or service. Having this quality justifies the time and money that customers are willing to spend.

Menlo Coaching suggests it manifests in the decision to tell bad news some of the time. It isn’t enough for a company to take pride in what they have and how much they’re worth. What matters more is that they remember the value of their work to the people who are paying for it.

This means they have to be honest about the amount of money they ask for plus what they can or cannot deliver at the moment.

This honesty will allow customers to decide whether they’re willing to make compromises, since failing to be honest requires cutting corners. Doing so hurts businesses a lot, unless they’re interested only in making a quick buck.

Effective honesty requires the company employees to know what they can and cannot provide. Though this seems counter-intuitive, what it actually inspires is customer confidence.

3. Say it Well

Upon having the information needed to make the best case, the most important thing is to get your message across. An article from Stanford Business School suggests that answering the following questions could help: “WhatSo whatNow what?

The answers allow a company to show their concern for the customer’s needs. Also, it shows that the company intends to do everything they can to provide solutions.

“What?” requires defining the situation, or even redefining it if necessary. It’s an affirmation of understanding why the customer needs what they need. It signifies that the company aims on figuring it out; not just to get things over with or make a sale.

“So what?” is all about why the situation requires a solution. Clients often come with an idea of what they need. As a product or service provider, the company is an expert on their individual products or services. But customers assume that the company has a grasp of how people use what they provide too. They believe that you can provide solutions or smart alternatives. This means focusing on what the customer is trying to do, and not only what they’re trying to get.

“Now what?” asks for a solution. Having built a good case, it’s the time to completely leave it up to the customer to decide. If a representative can maintain confidence in the offer, this will show through. It’s important to be a business that gives people what they know they want. But it matters more to be one that’s willing to provide real solutions to real problems.

That’s where the value of the relationship between customers and business best lies.

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