I am telling the truth, I promise…

Posted: March 24, 2012 in organisational responsibilities
Tags: , , , , , , ,

There are many cases and examples of companies that lie to their customers. For example by putting a product on sale that sell out quickly and then convince the customers to buy the more expansive product instead. Others promise good products that come with surprises that no one could expect.

What I can’t understand is the viewpoint that it is acceptable to lie or fool a customer for a short term profit. In a well updated society like we live in today no one should want to fool a customer. To treat customers with respect and treat them well might cost money in short term, but to ignore them might cost much more. Dell did this mistake many years ago by ignoring a customer who needed support for his new computer. The customer happened to be a well known writer who started blogging about his problems and the response he gained from Dell. The result was that 100s of others who had the same experience started commenting and writing on the blog, resulting in that Dell were down on their knees before they came back as they didn’t know how or where to comment on this problem.

If customers have a problem organisations have several options. Go to competitors, spread the information online, spread it in the news and among friends and nothing prevents them from doing all of this. The outcome for a company that had a quick sell and some fast profit might not only be a lost customer, but bad publicity as well as a bad reputation. More and more people who are going to buy products check up among friends and online before going to a store to buy the product. This as they know that they can not always trust the sellers. Those friends and online comments about the company as well as their products are therefore vital. Many have realized this and checks up themselves online and what people say about them. However they still continue to do these small lies for fast profit from time to time.

I applied for a job not long ago, the job description was that it was a project manager with a focus on selling. Turned out it was a phone seller job. I was supposed to make between 300-400 phone calls, each day. My friend and I started to speak about these jobs and how they tend to focus on a quick deal as the salary often is based on their performance. This could easily result in a lie to make the customer buy more. However this kind of thinking and acting damage the reputation and the company so much more then they might be thinking and the companies should want to educate their sellers away from this kind of thinking. The customer might be buying that product for a couple of euro, however they might also ignore all other messages and calls from the company as well as spread the information that this company is not to be trusted. So for a quick deal the company might lose not only a customer, but the customer’s friends and neighbors and the organisation’s reputation.

By telling the truth about a product the customer will feel that they can trust the company and I would say that even if it required to give a customer away to a competitor it is worth it. When facing it, if the product can’t compete with the competitors’ product we should develop the values and the product, not lie about it. By doing this the customer will return when they need our product, for example a cheaper piece of cloth that has less quality. Maybe not something a customer wants to wear when going on a wedding, but in the home they might want just that. By lying about the product the companies simply shoot themselves in their feets.

until next time

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