We, customers and companies alike, need to trust the people with whom we do
business. Customers expect honest, straight forward interactions where their voices
are heard. Companies work to inspire brand loyalty and deliver satisfaction while
trying to understand their customers better. It is evident that we all have a crucial
stake–and responsibility–in transforming the adversarial tone that too often
dominates the customer experience.
Along with open, authentic communication comes the mutual responsibility to make
it work. As each of us is both a customer and an employee, we share in the rewards
and challenges of candor. By adopting these ﬁve practical measures, we can together
realize a fundamental shift in our business relationships:
Be human. Use a respectful, converational voice, avoid scripts and never use corporate doublespeak.
Encourage employees to use their real names and use a personal touch.
Anticipate that problems will occur, and set clear, public expectations in advance for how you will address (and redress) issues.
Cultivate a public dialogue with customers so they feel they are being heard and to demonstrate your accountability.
Demonstrate your good intentions by speaking plainly, earnestly, and candidly with customers about problems that arise.
Be understanding. Show the respect and kindness to company reps that you’d like shown to you.
Use your real identity, and foster your long-term reputation with the company.
Recognize that problems will occur, and give companies the information and time required to competently address issues.
Share issues directly, or through a forum where the company has an opportunity to respond, so it can work with you to solve problems.
Give companies the beneﬁt of the doubt, and be open to what they have to say.