What I really meant to say was...

Customer Retention

Wayne Swan would have to be awarded Salesman of the year for his delivery and after-sales effort of the 2013 budget. It’s like listening to a salesman that has rote learnt the company patter and just repeats it over and over. Repetition, he hopes, will help his message get through.. by osmosis, verbal assault or just resignation by those of us still listening.  But the battle has already been lost, because most of us don’t actually believe his projections any more. There have been so many predictions that never come true that trust is long gone.

If the most powerful organisations and people can lose trust and trash their brands, what hope do those of us in small business have? It is a timely reminder that honesty is crucial to maintaining trust and confidence in your clients and prospects. We all make promises in business every day – in daily operations, in your brand values and in every communication. People do remember these and will judge your performance against them; were you honest or not?

Dishonesty loses your credibility and (in the long run) your clients. It’s the small things. We have all had staff that told you one thing and did another, suppliers that tell you your delivery ‘left yesterday’ or clients who said ‘the cheque is in the mail.’ Each little incident erodes trust a little more. As hard as it may be to tell your client or supplier that you can not deliver what you promised, an open honest discussion will fare you better than denial and an appearance of indifference. It matters more what you do than what you say: actions speak volumes.

Keeping high standards through dedication and vigilance is key to building and maintaining trust and reliability. Cultivating a culture of honesty in your business, where difficult conversations and coached and discussed, will yield dividends in the long run.

Dr Warren Harmer

Warren Harmer

at Crecer

Small, fast growing and entrepreneurial businesses are my passion. I like to write business plans for them, grow them, advise them and write about them. My experience now spans over 17 years, including 3 businesses of my own. My objective is to offer instructive, hands-on, ‘how to’ information to make business ownership easier, less stressful, more successful and more enjoyable.

Anonymous asks
Comments (3)
Ivana Katz

Ivana Katz, Owner at

Great points Warren. I think open communication is the key ... even if you are not able to deliver on time, as long as you keep your customer informed, in 99% of cases people will understand. It's only when you don't respond to their questions and ignore them that problems arise. If the delay is going to be extensive, perhaps offer a discount or extra product/service in return for the client's patience.

Warren Harmer

Warren Harmer at Crecer

Thanks Ivana.

View all (3) comments