by Rick Kroetsch
Can your customer count on you to do the right thing—consistently? Does your team know what you would do in all situations if you are absent when a critical decision is needed? Have you built your integrity into your corporate culture so that everyone knows what your company stands for?
Walk the talk
If you commit to acting honestly and ethically in every situation in your business, make sure your customers and team see you consistently act that way. There may be times when it would be easier to cut corners or turn a blind eye to certain actions or behaviours. Always default to the fact that someone will know.
Is your ego writing cheques your business no longer cashes?
It’s easy to make statements or commitments—but can they be fulfilled by your company given changing business environments?
If you tell your customers that you have amazing customer service, knowledgeable staff, a wide selection, and a happy environment—is this still true? When was the last time you checked? With employee turnover, you may discover that it’s time to increase your training to deliver on what you are telling your target market.
Can they believe in you?
People like to know that when they need something they’ve been promised that the company will be there to stand behind them and follow through. Make sure their expectations are met every time.
If you promised it—do it!
Given the myriad challenges in today’s retail environment, it’s tempting sometimes to change your mind and not follow through on what you promised. Your customer, however, expects that you stand behind your commitments.
Don’t find excuses and reasons to back away from your commitment. It means more to your customer when you do the right thing under trying circumstances. This is the moment of truth to your customer: will you deliver what you say even when there is an easier, cheaper solution for you to choose.
Don’t get tempted or rationalize
Business is changing every day and there can be tremendous pressure on you to ignore or dismiss things you have promised. Everyone wants to be successful, and it can be tempting to omit things, refuse to act in the promised manner, or rationalize using the “it’s just the way business is” mindset.
Don’t fall into the trap—it’s hard to get out. Your customer will no longer trust you or your company, because they’ll believe you say one thing but do another. You’ve lost the trust factor and probably the customer, because they’ll find a company that stands with them when they need it.
I’ll be back!
It sounds too simple to be true, but having integrity in business and doing what you say even when it would be possible to do otherwise can be a big sustainable competitive advantage: your competition will let their customers down—but you won’t.
Your personal and business integrity is critical for getting and keeping customers—don’t ignore it or bury it. It only takes a few actions or choices to enhance or destroy your integrity. Build it into your business as a fundamental value—and protect it.
Rick Kroetsch is the vice-president and associate publisher of Alive Publishing Group