Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies…

5th April, 2011

This blog is a reflection on customer service and my experiences as a customer. Without doubt you will have your own experiences.

When child #1 was 11 years old we had the ‘I didn’t eat all the cookies / crumbs around mouth’ incident (well, it was pizza and tomato sauce really), after which we had a long chat.

I made the concession that however smart my parenting style, I knew the child in question was likely to tell me the odd fib during his upbringing. I promised to reward honesty and I asked for one simple thing: if it’s so necessary to lie to me then I would appreciate it if you do not insult my intelligence by making it a stupid lie! To his credit he got it and I have found it ever so hard to catch him lying ever since!

Now why the nostalgic look back? Because more and more I am getting lied to when involved in sales transactions (I am buying) and not with those sweet little lies (‘That colour suits you so well, Madam!’) but with lazy lies that insult my intelligence because the seller has forgotten me and can only see the pounds in my wallet.

I have listened to the following lately:

–          In a fast food restaurant I was told that my Coke did not taste like Coke because I had asked for it without ice cubes?!?

–          A sales assistant in a PC retail shop told the lady next to me that the most important thing when buying a Netbook is that you have one with Windows 7 as Windows phases out all other operating systems (err, what about processing speed, memory, disk space or even, “what do you want to use your PC for, madam?!”).

–          (Over the phone) – ‘We spoke last week and you asked me to give you call back…’ when what I actually said last week was ‘No thank you I am not interested.’

–          At the supermarket, when asking for a specific product ‘I am sorry, we don’t carry this.’ – to find it seconds later by accident myself.

In all of the cases honesty would have gone a lot further with me. If you don’t know something, just say so. I will understand. If you need to get more information before answering my question – that’s ok. And if you think you’ll just try your luck again to see if I’ve changed my mind – just tell me. But don’t lie to me. I will not reward your lie by buying something from you, with repeat custom, recommendation or anything else you would like from me as a loyal customer.

If you want me to be a good customer there is only one thing you have to do – be a good retailer. Simple enough, isn’t it? And if you then tell me that the colour of the product really brings out the colour of my eyes – well, I like to be flattered and I might choose to believe your sweet little lies….

P.S.  If service matters to your business, are your sales staff telling sweet little lies to the detriment of good customer service?  Have a look at our mystery shopping services.