Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Differentiate yourself through honesty

A great post over at "A Smart Bear" focusing on being honest with your users. Some of my favorite recommmendations:
  • Admit when you're wrong, quickly and genuinely.
  • As soon as something isn't going to live up to your customer's expectation -- or even your own internal expectations -- tell them. Explain why there's a problem and what you're doing about it.
  • Instead of pretending your new software has no bugs and every feature you could possibly want, actively engage customers in new feature discussions and turn around bug fixes in under 24 hours.
  • Send emails from real people, not from info@company.com.
Honesty is a prerequisite to transparency. Opening up to your customers forces you to be honest. Why not use it as a competitive advantage?

Seth Godin provides his own perspective on the the best approach:

Can you succeed financially by acting in an ethical way?

I think the Net has opened both ends of the curve. On one hand, black hat tactics, scams, deceit and misdirection are far easier than ever to imagine and to scale. There are certainly people quietly banking millions of dollars as they lie and cheat their way to traffic and clicks.

On the other hand, there's far bigger growth associated with transparency. When your Facebook profile shows years of real connections and outreach and help for your friends, it's a lot more likely you'll get that great job.

When your customer service policies delight rather than enrage, word of mouth more than pays your costs. When past investors blog about how successful and ethical you were, it's a lot easier to attract new investors.

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