‘Yesterday I cry all day’: why saying it straight can be good for business

I was buying lunch at a high-street eatery last week when the till assistant, a smiley blonde with an Eastern European accent, asked me how I was.

I parroted the standard response (‘I’m fine, thanks – how are you’?). And she said: ‘Yesterday I cry all day. But today I feel positive!’

I must confess, I found this a bit discombobulating. After all, it was a blatant breach of the number one rule of British conversation: that the only acceptable answer to ‘How are you?’ is ‘Fine’.

But in throwing out the rulebook, this nice smiley lady actually said something that was real and true, rather than bland and corporate. And there’s a lot that businesses can learn from that – especially if they’re in trouble for mis-selling, treating staff badly or just making a plain old mistake.

Here’s my four reasons for saying it straight:

1. A lot of the time, we don’t expect businesses to be honest. So any that are immediately have our attention.

2. When a company says it like it is, it’s inviting us to do the same. So it opens the door to better, more genuine conversations with its customers.

3. If we have the facts, we can make up our own minds about how to respond – by moving our bank account, for example, or deciding to give a business a second chance.

4. We’re more likely to trust that person or company in the future.

What do you think? Is there anything you’d add or change? And can you think of a time when honesty has paid off (or not) for your business?

#blog #honesty #copywriting

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