You trust your consumers, right?

Darrell Grant, the CXO of Hightower Wealth Advisors, one of our devoted readers, presented a wonderful tale that offers a wonderful chance for learning.

To buy some sweets for a customer, Darrell made a quick detour at a neighborhood bakery. Customers were becoming impatient since the queue was longer than normal. They apparently couldn't ring up sales since the internet was down. The crew was having trouble. The clients were dissatisfied. When a staff member encouraged the customers to show patience, the customers excused themselves and left the area for around two minutes to talk about the issue.

They reappeared with broad grins less than two minutes later. Customers were informed that there was a difficulty accepting payments, but they were pleased to let them to place their own purchase. Customers were only required to provide their names and phone numbers so that staff could contact them when the terminals were operational and process payments over the phone. The clients readily agreed to comply.

Think about this. The bakery provided options. Without the capacity to accept payments, they had the option of closing the bakery or counting on their clients to pay them later. It is clear that the bakery staff adopted a customer-focused strategy.

I was employed by a reputable restaurant business. Customers sometimes forget their wallet or pocketbook at home. Enjoy the dinner, the team member would kindly add after the consumer understood their predicament. You may pay for it when you come in again.

What message are these illustrations conveying to their clients? How many companies do you know that would trust you to come back later and make a purchase or leave an order without paying for it? In the previous B2B world, many consumers would pay for their purchases 30, 90, or even more days (or more) after receiving an invoice, but this is nearly unheard of in the retail world.

I'm not advocating that you use the honor system for payment with all of your clients. A framework and procedure must be in place. But when a decision has to be taken, put your consumers' needs first. Sure, there are some people you can't trust—probably a very, very small number—but don't penalize the vast majority of people who are honest because of the transgressions of these few.

Customers will show their faith in you in return. Gaining your consumers' trust is a crucial and effective step in improving your customer relations. According to my buddy Dave Horsager, who is perhaps the world's leading authority on trust, "Trust, not money, is the currency of business and life." He adds, "Your largest expenditure is a lack of trust." You can't expect your consumers to trust you if you can't trust them.

Thanks to Shep Hyken at Business 2 Community whose reporting provided the original basis for this story.

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