Management Training Sales & Marketing

GPI 022 – When you screw things up for your customer, be honest and man up fast.  Notify him immediately!

Be honest at all times with your customers, even when that requires announcing bad news to them which they may not like.  For example, if a customers’ shipment is going to be late, get an estimated time frame for the new delivery date and call the customer immediately.  Keep him informed.  The delay may be irrelevant or it may not.  It also may be that this particular delivery is going to cost the customer handsomely unless he can make other plans.  The earlier you tell him the better.  You owe it to him to keep your customer informed.

Consider the possibilities if you choose not to be honest.  Consider the wrong decision you make when you erroneously decide not to tell your customer that a shipment is going to be late until the last minute.  When you finally announce this change of plans to him later than necessary, he may become angry because he might have been able to work out an alternative plan.  You have misled him and now caused him unnecessary problems and will now be regarded as not trustworthy.  Why should he believe your delivery promises now?  You let him down by not opening your mouth.  You proved you and your company cannot be trusted.  How do you think this affects potential future sales?

You have no other option other than quick open honesty.  You do not have any other option when it comes to being honest with customers.  Tell the customer the good or bad news as early as possible and let them decide what they wish to do at that point.  If your customers are like most people, they know things go wrong in life.  The best you can do is try to help the customer when you are able and make him immediately aware of any changes or new circumstances concerning any of his open orders with you.

Customers need to see how you react in adverse situations.  Customers need to test their vendors.  They need to see you react appropriately and professionally when things go awry, deadlines are missed, trucks run late or break down or when shipments are stalled or incorrectly filled or short-shipped.  They want to know what you are going to do when plans fall apart.  Are you dependable?  Do you know what you are doing?  Are you honest and are you a person of your word?

Show your customers you can be trusted and speak up regardless of the situation.  You have integrity regardless of the situation.  Your honesty will demonstrate to them you and your company can be trusted.  You will be regarded as one they can count on even when things temporarily go off schedule.  They do not want to deal with bums.  Customers demand honesty and integrity so show it to them.  They already recognize and regularly see poor service and untrustworthy characters in the marketplace.  They need someone with integrity.  Be honest and upfront with them at all times no matter how unpleasant the news may turn out to be.  They will remember this on their next order with you.

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