Interesting. Yesterday, I held my first seminar, entitled "Four Critical Principles to Surviving a Recession". And one of the topics I spoke about, Taking Care of Your Existing Customers, was the topic for Seth Godin's blog (in a round about way).
Specifically, Seth responded to a comment he received from another article about whether "Good Guys" can be successful in today's market. I agree with his position completely (and my clients hear it regularly). In fact, I believe strong ethics focused on taking care of your customers is critical in today's market and a sure way to shoot to the top of your industry.
Unfortunately, living with integrity is very hard. Especially when so few around us do - it can be incredibly discouraging. But, the truth is, in today's world, you can't afford not to - which is why I think so many small business owners struggle.
Competition in nearly every industry is tighter than ever before. And in today's communication driven world - word spreads of "unethical" behavior faster than ever. In the past, if you failed to meet your commitments to a customer (operating without integrity) they would yell at you, tell a few people and that would be that. You would definitely lose one customer - maybe three or four, but the damage could be contained.
Not any more.
Today, with the power of the internet, emails, and text messaging, angry customers can send vile words to thousands of friends and family (as well as strangers) in a single key stroke - damaging your reputation in a matter of nanoseconds.
In fact, some time ago, when doing research on a company that I was helping, I found some feedback that was not only negative - but was "over the top" damaging. The worst part was that this negative feedback was on the front page of the feedback list - after nearly three years. And no matter how many good reviews would get entered, this one negative one kept showing it's ugly face.
So, I agree with Seth Godin, good guys finish first . . . so live your life and run your business with integrity each and every day - the payoffs will be more than just feeling good about yourself.