How to keep customers happy

Thursday, September 15, 2016

When you're dealing with customers, silence is incriminating. Whether there is any validity to the concern or not is another issue altogether. The problem is that people think that there is a problem, and it only fans the fire.

Every company hits their fair share of snags along the path to success, and my company BodeTreeis no different. Over the years, we've run into technical challenges and limitations that have delayed our rollout with various clients. However, throughout those challenges we committed to over-communicating. In sharing the reality of our situation honestly and transparently, we managed to control the narrative.

Silence is not an option

Open customer communication is easy. Just tell them the good, the bad, and the ugly. Silence is not an option for businesses, especially when operations hit a snag.

Lack of communication when things go awry is one path to self-inflicted customer dissatisfaction. Instead, one CEO suggests leveraging honesty to capitalise on the (surprisingly) forgiving nature of customers. Silence is simply not an option for organisations, regardless of whether their customers are backers on a crowdfunding platform, typical consumers, or large organisations.

Trust is the single most important aspect of the customer/business relationship, and it cannot take hold and grow without constant communication. Customers want to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly, no matter what. Whereas silence begets distrust and suspicion, openness builds trust.

Customers can be forgiving

Most consumers want to be forgiving. It sounds strange, but my experience has been such that if treated with honesty and respect, customers will forgive the most damaging of missteps.

The idea that business isn't personal is deeply flawed. Every transaction, whether it's on a crowdfunding platform of between large organisations, is deeply personal.

When organisations admit their missteps and ask for forgiveness, most people are more than happy to grant it.

However, when businesses get defensive, obfuscate the truth, or simply go silent, any trace of goodwill vanishes. In business, just as in life, honesty is truly the best policy.

Entrepreneursof all shapes and sizes should take note and commit to transparency with their customers. If they do, they'll find that much can and will be forgiven. If they fail to do so, however, customers can and will hold a grudge.

*Myers is the co-founder and CEO ofBodeTreeand author of Enlightened Entrepreneurship