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Key Idea: Tell Customers The Truth

The truth is sometimes, "No, we can't do that."  Or, "No, we can't do it that fast."

Key Question:


You have to keep your promises. 

Q:  Why is it sometimes hard to tell the truth?

A: We want to please. We don't want our customers to go to another supplier. However, you should only promise what you are confident you can deliver. The customer can usually live with the truth, meaning, if you need two weeks to do a job and do it right, they will wait. You also must commit to teach your customer the way you want to be treated.

To eat at the French Laundry,  the up-up-scale restaurant in Napa Valley, customers are taught to make a reservation 60 days, to the day, in advance. On the other hand, at FASTSIGNS,  you can get a high quality finished product on the spot.

Q:  What is the best way to punish a customer?

A:  Make the customer speak to more than one person to get a problem solved. Because very affordable technology allows the smallest companies to have the same customer information on every employee's desktop, even the smallest companies should be able to take care of a customer on one call.

Don cross trains everyone at Record Technology so that when a customer calls in, the person who takes the call can get the answer to the customer's question.
At Texas Nameplate the customer service specialists can see the entire manufacturing process tracked on their computer.

So you have to do two things to make sure customers get what they want. Install the right technology and then teach every person who answers a telephone how to help customers. All easier said than done, but absolutely necessary.

Think about it

Are you good at telling customers the truth?  Are you excellent at meeting deadlines?  Are you the company people come to when they want something done right and on time?  Do all of your employees know how to get an answer for a customer?

Clip from: Record Technology

Camarillo, California: Meet Melody and Don MacInnis; they're  "making it in America."   They manufacturer and export to the far corners of the world because they are now known as the best  record manufacturers -  vinyl, phonograph, long-playing records -- on earth.  Most kids today do not even know what what a vinyl LP record is.  Most think it is a dead technology.  But talk to any audiophile, and  you'll hear them wax euphorically about the fullness of the analog quality of the sound.

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Record Technology, Inc.

Don & Melody MacInnis, Owners

486 Dawson Drive
Camarillo, CA 93012

Visit our web site:

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1992

Tell Customers The Truth

(Voiceover) Record Technology doesn't need a sales force because they've got the best grooves in the world and the audiophiles know it. Don's company has buzz; people talk about the quality, and the customers find him.

DON: We try to provide not only the best product, but the best service. Our customer service representatives all develop very close relationships with their customers.

Unidentified Employee #1: And we can say with conviction that they're going to get high quality here starting with customer service, right down to the product.

Unidentified Employee #2: One of the things I tell my customers is that I'm going to tell them the way it is; I'm not going to tell them just what they want to hear, but what's really going to happen. And I think they really appreciate that. And we work with them, and even though we have a first-come, first-serve basis going on, we try to be flexible. And if somebody's in a crunch and they really need something, then we can do some juggling.

REED MacINNIS (Operations Manager, Record Technology): You have to understand what they want.

HATTIE: The customer.

REED: Yes.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Don's brother, Reed, is operations manager.

REED: And they have a lot of needs in this business. Besides a very quiet, flat record, besides impeccable print material, they want everything on time. They want it yesterday, because it's a very competitive business, once they start a project, they need it in their customers' hands as soon as possible. And we're there for them.

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