Customer Lies & Getting to the Truth

Some of you may know that we have a cottage at Goose Rocks Beach. We’re up there most weekends and we don’t rent it out because I don’t like people touching my stuff. We have lots of guests visit and occasionally, we’ll let a friend or relative use it without us being there. We don’t charge them anything, but we usually wind up getting a nice thank you.

So, last week, we let a friend use it. Let’s call them HeyYou. So, HeyYou went up on Tuesday. Elaine called on Tuesday to make sure they found everything, needed anything, etc. HeyYou was happy. Elaine called on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to ask for a favor. HeyYou didn’t answer, nor return any of Elaine’s voice mail messages. Elaine complained to me.

At 8:56 Saturday morning, I called HeyYou and left this message on voicemail. HeyYou, Elaine’s been calling you, but you haven’t called back. I hope everything’s OK. If I don’t hear from you in 5 minutes, I’m gonna call the Kennebunkport Police Dept and ask them to come check on you and I left our HOME NUMBER.

At 9:02, I called the police department and they said that they’d get someone down there shortly.

At 9:21, HeyYou called ELAINE’S CELL # saying that they had stayed only one night, then continued on. When Elaine asked how come they hadn’t returned her calls, HeyYou replied that they hadn’t gotten Elaine’s message, nor their mother’s message, nor their cousins message.

I called the police department. Thanked them and told them that we’d heard from the culprits.

This kind of stuff happens every day in business. Now, I’m not saying that HeyYou, your prospects or your customers are bad people. I AM saying that they don’t always tell you the WHOLE truth, that they don’t always have the same priorities as you, and that you can waste a lot of time wondering what’s going on.

Now, in this particular case, I don’t care about the truth, but

Do you think it was a coincidence that HeyYou called 26 minutes after my message?

Do you think that it’s relevant that HeyYou called Elaine’s cell rather than the number that I left?

Do you think that HeyYou’s story would stand up if I called their mother and cousin?

Doesn’t matter. They’ll never be invited again.

If you’d like to discuss application to the professional world, let me know.

3 thoughts on “Customer Lies & Getting to the Truth

  1. Wow, Rick, if your comparing a friend you let use your cottage to a customer, you must not be a very good judge of character. A customer doesn’t owe you unless you’ve established a trusting relationship and even then it’s dicey. Don’t take business personally, but friends like that you don’t need.

  2. Jeanne, you know me better than to think that I take much personally and although this comes from my personal life, it happens every day to consultants, business owners, professionals and salespeople that, as you pointed out, don’t establish good two-way relationships with their clients or don’t have the intestinal fortitude to recognize and stop the games that waste their time.

    Thanks for reading and commenting!

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