A few months ago, a friend asked me to stand in and speak to a group of people preparing to retire. Although the notice was short, I accepted and told my friend to tell the organisers to get in touch with me. The date of the meeting came and passed without any contact from the organisers. Some two months later, my friend called to thank me for standing in for him. He went on to say the people were very happy with my talk. When I told him that I never gave the talk, my friend was so embarrassed.
One reason why people tell lies is to avoid embarrassment. In reality, lying only postpones embarrassment and when the lie is exposed, it only makes the embarrassment bigger.
Lying is a problem for both big and small businesses.
Lies erode trust for a business and its products or services. There are companies that have well equipped customer service centres, but nobody takes their system seriously. When customers want to get a resolution to a complaint they instead call specific staff. The behaviour of customers to bypass customer service staff is explained by loss of trust.
Many of you have seen the roadside fresh food markets selling items such as sweet potatoes and irish potatoes. The sellers like to sell the potatoes using containers locally known as debbes. The reason the sellers prefer this kind of container is that they are able to arrange the potatoes in such a way that the bottom of the container is full of spaces.
As a result a buyer gets far less than what they paid for. While the sellers may be thrilled by ripping off customers, their actions are destroying long term trust.
James Abola is a business and finance consultant. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org