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Do the Right Thing

Create Trust

I typically don’t like sports analogies in business, but sometimes they make such good sense. So, here is the story: My friend and colleague Jim Tunney, an inspiring speaker and the Dean of NFL referees writes a weekly article about sports stories that always make a point. Recently he wrote about the 2015 Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, which for the fifth time was won by Novak Djokovic. According to Jim, the real story of the tournament wasn’t Djokovic’s fifth win, but came in the match between third-ranked Rafael Nadal and 103rd ranked Tim Smyczek from Wisconsin. Just as Nadal was about to serve, one of the fans in the gallery shouted some indiscernible remark, startling Nadal and causing him to deliver a bad serve. Smyczek approached the umpire at center court and suggested that Nadal get a second chance because of the disruptive fan. Nadal was granted permission to repeat his first serve and went on to win the point, the set and the match. Afterward, Smyczek was interviewed and his comment was, “It was just the right thing to do.”

I love that: “It was just the right thing to do.”

How many times are we faced with business ethics decisions where “the right thing to do” may be a tough decision? Trust me, the right thing to do is always the right decision. This is even more important in business, as your reputation with your customers is based on some level of trust. Trust comes from doing what you promised. The customer assumes they will get what they pay for. They also assume you will stand behind whatever it is you sell them. A couple of years ago, during the height of the holiday season, Delta Airlines featured some amazing deals on their website. For a short time, travelers could find airfare for certain domestic flights for less than $5. A round-trip ticket between New York and Seattle could be found for $25. Talk about a bargain! But there was a problem. The outrageously low prices were the result of a computer glitch. Delta quickly fixed the issue and then restored their website – this time with the correct pricing. Delta acknowledged its mistake and issued a statement on the situation.
“For a portion of the morning today, some prices on and other booking channels were incorrectly displayed, resulting in lower than usual fares for customers. The situation has been resolved and the correct prices are being displayed. Delta will honor any fares purchased at the incorrect price.”
Instead of frustrating customers by demanding they pay full price for airfare, Delta took responsibility. Yes, it was a pricey decision. But they valued the goodwill of their customers over the financial implications. You can’t go wrong by doing the right thing when it comes to ethics in business. In business, this might cost you a little more or take extra time upfront. But the extra effort will pay dividends many times over. The best companies, and the people in those companies, have standards that can’t be compromised. This positively impacts both the customers and employees. Shep Hyken is a customer service/CX expert, award-winning keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling author. Learn more about Shep’s customer service and customer experience keynote speeches and his customer service training workshops at Connect with Shep on LinkedIn.

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