The plumber ruined my plaster ceiling.
A year later, the roofer broke my deck.
They both told me, “I want to make this right.” Then, they did everything in their power to avoid paying. (With limited success. I’m pretty tenacious.)
In the age of word-of-mouth marketing, with Angie’s List, Yelp and girlfriends getting together for coffee, how could any business person be so short-sighted to think shirking a responsibility today would result in profit tomorrow?
Honesty and virtue are key ingredients to long-term success. It sounds old-fashioned, because there’s nothing new about being a good business with good people.
Dishonesty can lead to short-term gains–remember Enron?–but ultimately ends in business disaster. For the plumber, I wrote a reasonable yet scathing review of his business and chose one of his dozen competitors to be my go-to plumber. As for the roofer, I related my story to friends and neighbors, so they can make informed decisions in the future. I’m just one home-owner, but my influence extends beyond my own purchasing needs.
And the same is true of your customers. Each day, your customers are evaluating your dependability and trustworthiness. They are sharing their opinions with friends and family. Their opinions carry more weight than the most perfectly-designed marketing campaign.
So, be good. Do the right thing.
Your business will profit from it, and so will your conscience.
P.S. Bonus: The effects of unethical business decisions extend further than word-of-mouth. If you have customers who won’t pay anything until the last jot and tittle of the contract are fulfilled, they’ve likely been treated badly in the past. They feel the need to protect themselves. And who can blame them? We’ve all heard the lie at sometime or other, “I want to make this right.”
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