Can you imagine a world where a product actually worked as advertised? How many times have you started using a new product, only to discover that the product isn’t up for the challenge? I have purchased countless programs that promised big things and almost always left me saying, “Why doesn’t this work, this isn’t what I ordered?!”
As a company, integrity is critical for getting and keeping the support of investors and customers. It’s doing the right thing, even when your customer isn’t around. To earn the loyalty of new customers, and the respect of your employees, your brand needs to be honest and consistent, with a strong foundation based on the morals, values or beliefs that you have.
Here are a few tips to keep your ethical compass, pointed North!
Treat Your Promises as Your Most Valuable Resource
Your commitments are the backbone of any organization or group. It’s what gives it strength. Following through on commitments can be found at the core of the other tips below. When you offer amazing, reliable service, everything falls into place.
When the company “Drops the Ball”, deadlines are missed, promises are not kept, and your customers take notice. When too many of your customers take notice, your investors take notice (it always shows up in the numbers)!
One of your most important commitments to your customers is remaining in contact. You need to identify their unique needs and create solutions catered to them. Customer support helpdesk software can work wonders in this area. Having an automated tool that connects your team more closely with your most demanding clients is a great way to deliver on promises and improve brand loyalty.
Be honest and transparent with customers, even when it hurts.
I used to work as a gate/customer service agent for a reginal airline. I’ve heard it all; I’ve been called it all, but I was always honest with my customers. I didn’t always tell them what they wanted to hear, but it was an honest and truthful answer. I didn’t leave anything out. The way I saw it, even if you don’t tell the whole truth, it’s dishonest.
I can hear Aretha Franklyn singing it now. Nobody likes to be disrespected. Your customer-facing team needs to understand that respect is a two-way street. There should be an expectation that they will always be courteous, considerate and respectful. You never know who that other person may be.
Building and maintaining trust
Trust is difficult to earn and easy to loose. Things like a missed delivery, a product that doesn’t match the hype, or an interaction with an employee that appears apathetic or untrained will result in trust-deficit.
Keep your company’s marketing realistic. Don’t let the artistic creativity of your marketing team create a false impression about your product or service.
Keep a strong and consistent moral code
When I was younger, I was active in the Boy Scouts. At the beginning of every meeting, we recited the Boy Scout motto, which included the term “Morally Strong”. Understand the moral standards your customers expect. Commission market research and focus in on the reasons your customers are choosing your product, versus the competition. Get out a pen and paper, and then create a list of the three business morals that will have the most impact going forward on your products.
These are different from Unique Value Propositions. These are the guiding values that will help your company develop a culture that can deliver on the needs of your clients; creating a perfect fit with their needs in your sales, support and development process.
Your brand will thrive with a focus on your core values. Having a lack of integrity is one of the easiest qualities to see in companies and the people we meet. As a leader, your responsibility is to embody those values so that your team has a vision to emulate. President Eisenhower once said, “The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionable integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office”.
Image courtesy of flickr user Nguyen Hung Vu