Tell the truth

It may be tempting to exaggerate or bend the facts a little to make a customer feel better when there is a problem. Unfortunately, this tactic often makes things worse in the long run when the customer discovers you gave them inaccurate information.

A better way to handle difficult situations is to tell customers the truth. And then tell them what you plan to do about it.

Here's an example:

My colleague, George, once had to tell 800 airline passengers that their flights were all cancelled due to an ice storm. It was a Sunday and flights weren't scheduled to resume until Wednesday.

George knew the only option was to tell the truth, even though people would be upset with the news. He stood in front of the crowd, announced the flight delay, and then explained his plan to get everyone reaccommodated as quickly as possible.

Passengers weren't thrilled, but at least they now had the information they needed to make informed decisions about their travel.