We, customers and companies alike, need to trust the people with whom we do business. Customers expect honest, straightforward 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:
|1.||Be human. Use a respectful, converational voice, avoid scripts and never use corporate doublespeak.||Be understanding. Show the respect and kindness to company reps that you'd like shown to you.|
|2.||Encourage employees to use their real names and use a personal touch.||Use your real identity, and foster your long-term reputation with the company.|
|3.||Anticipate that problems will occur, and set clear, public expectations in advance for how you will address (and redress) issues.||Recognize that problems will occur, and give companies the information and time required to competently address issues.|
|4.||Cultivate a public dialogue with customers so they feel they are being heard and to demonstrate your accountability.||Share issues directly, or through a forum where the company has an opportunity to respond, so it can work with you to solve problems.|
|5.||Demonstrate your good intentions by speaking plainly, earnestly, and candidly with customers about problems that arise.||Give companies the benefit of the doubt, and be open to what they have to say.|
By working together in these ways, people build long-term relationships that lead to trust, strong communities, and sustainable businesses. We, as companies and customers, support this call for change.