Growing up, I would often hear the saying that “honesty is the best policy.” It’s always best to be upfront, otherwise you’re only masking underlying issues and more often than not, that lid won’t remain closed. As an adult, I can attest that I remind my six-year-old of this…. on a near-daily basis.
I was reminded of this ‘honesty’ policy when I contacted a builder to provide an estimate for a deck. They came to my house, measured, jotted down some notes, confirmed my email and phone number and then left. I was excited because they made the prospect of work sound quite promising! That was almost two months ago — and I’ve not heard a single word. If you have too much work going on, if the job is too small, or if your services are disrupted because of the supply chain, just tell the customer that it’s not going to work out. Chances are you’ll gain a referral for being friendly and forthright.
My point is simple — honesty may not always be easy, but it does yield positive results in the long term. We hear this quite frequently from those who participate in the customer advisory boards we facilitate. The meeting host appreciates the candid, open and honest feedback from those sitting around the board room table — whether it’s good or bad. Is it hard to listen to the negative feedback? 1,000% yes — it’s hard! But the truth is, if you want to engage with your customers and create the best experience possible, you need to dig in and know what’s working and not working.
There are several benefits that can result from having a customer advisory board to foster honest dialogue: Gaining new insights and perspectives from customers; building trust with those customers; and the opportunity to resolve issues — turn a negative experience into a positive one. Some of the best customer advisory board meetings happen when the meeting host — and participants — are candid and honest with one another. It’s a big reason why successful customer engagement requires you to be open and honest with your customers.