What About Transparency?

What if you made transparency your first resort? (As opposed to the last resort.)

What if you told people what would be useful to them before they needed the information. 

  • That feature of the software is broken, and we don’t know when it will be fixed. 
  • The delivery drivers are about two hours behind today. 
  • We had a customer that pays us more than you do call us with an emergency, and we had to bump your service call until tomorrow. 
  • We can develop that software, but most projects of this kind run at least 50% over budget. 
  • We would love to have you join our weight loss program, but it is really hard to maintain over the long term. 

People are going to figure it out eventually, even if you don’t tell the truth upfront. What do you think would happen if we told people what we knew as soon as we knew it? 

Here’s my theory:

In the short term: 

  1. Some people would walk away because they would be wooed by the people who were sugar-coating the truth. 
  2. Some people would be frustrated with your service, but they would stick around because they figure that they wouldn’t receive anything better somewhere else. 
  3. Some people will love your transparency because they can plan around what you promise, and where you identify the gaps. 

In the long term

  • Those people in group #2 and group #3 will become an incredibly loyal group of customers. They will trust what you say and trust you to tell them what they really need to know before they need to know it. 
  • You will continuously improve your operations because you won’t sweep issues under the carpet. When you tell everyone your issues, it’s easier to work to correct them. And it’s even better when you have a group of loyal customers who appreciate your honesty and are still cheering for you to succeed. 

It sounds like I will have to test out this theory. I feel like an experiment is in order. I’ll let you know if anything exciting happens.