When I do Customer Service Workshops or Sales Training I often ask if any of the participants have been lied to by a customer. The response is often nearly unanimous. It’s a big yes!
So why do customers lie? Or a better question is, do they lie?
In the technical sense of the word yes, customers do lie sometimes. They withhold truthful information. They “misrepresent” their situation. They sometimes exaggerate the seriousness of their problem. And yes, sometimes they intentionally tell a lie.
So why would they do that? Why would anyone lie to a person who is trying to help them solve a problem? How can they expect to get help if they won’t be honest about the help they need?
The first part of that answer is simple. They don’t expect to get help in the first place. Many people don’t see a salesperson or customer service representative as someone who is there to help them. That’s likely because far too many people in those positions are not there to help them. They are there only to sell them something or deal with a problem as cost effectively as possible.
Customers exaggerate the scope of their problems because they don’t trust the customer service representative to act with the urgency the customer wants and often needs. So they say things like this about their 3 year old product, “this thing hasn’t worked right since the day I bought it, it’s complete crap.”
Now obviously it must have worked for some of those 3 years so why would the customer say that? Because they don’t think saying, “it’s been working great up until the last few days, now I can’t get it to do anything right,” will get them help. They believe their truthful and accurate description will get their problem “back burnered.” So they try to instill some urgency into the conversation. They likely believe they will be back burnered because that has been their experience in the past.
Here’s what you need to know about customers who lie. They do NOT lie to people who they see as trustworthy. People who they sense are sincerely interested in helping them achieve their goals and solve their problems.
As a salesperson or customer service person you must also know that because you’ve never lied to a customer that doesn’t mean your customer has never been lied to. Sales people, and to a lesser extent, customer service representatives, have a reputation for lying. Even if you’ve never lied that reputation precedes you.
It’s beyond frustrating for the majority of sales and service people who are honest and have their customers best interests in mind. But it is what it is. Trust must be earned, even by the completely trustworthy.
If you want to be trusted, in sales, service or life in general, then you must make certain that your words match your actions at all times. When you say you will do something you must do it, when you said you would do it. EVERY SINGLE TIME.
If you’re in sales or service and you’re being lied to buy a customer you need to understand that you, or someone very close to you in your organization has earned that lie. They, or you, have earned that lie by not following through. Maybe by not honoring a commitment. Maybe by exaggerating, even a little bit.
If you’re a professional you will not get upset or frustrated with a customer who is less than truthful with you. You’ll simply work harder to earn their trust so that you’ll be better able to help them in the future.
Remember, the customer doesn’t really owe you the truth, you have to earn it!
On a another note… Everyone can use a “nudge” towards success. I’m trying something new on Twitter. It’s called “Super Followers.” For $5 a month, that’s 17 cents a day, people can follow a part of my Twitter stream that is for subscribers only. It features short videos of me discussing leadership topics, sales tips and ideas for better overall relationships. I’m assuming there will be far fewer Super Followers than the million or so people who regularly follow me on Twitter. That will give me the opportunity to answer questions more throughly than I can on regular Twitter. Most of the answers will come in the evening cause we all have day jobs, right? Think of it as ”mentoring on demand!”
My goal with SuperFollowers is to build a better connection, one where I can help more and have a greater impact. I’m hoping it gives me a chance to mentor to a wider audience. It’s still new, we’ll see how it works. It’s a $5 dollar investment that may be the extra “push” you need to get to where you want to be. I’d be honored to be able to help get you there.
You can find more information by clicking the Super Follow button on my Twitter profile page IN THE TWITTER APP. http://twitter.com/leadtoday Give it a try if you’re so inclined, and if you are, be sure to let me know how I’m doing and how I can be of even more help.