Pushy sales people. Marketing claims that hover somewhere between an overreach and an outright lie. You know the kind of company I am talking about. Sadly, there are too many organizations that encourage employees to do or say anything to grow, grow, grow sales. I am sure you can imagine the closed-door conversations: “Who cares? Sam, just get the money!”
Empty promises. Stretching the truth. Hurting employees and letting down customers in the process — why is that OK?
In my new book Lovability, I describe how companies under pressure to grow fast often wind up compromising their values and getting into trouble. These actions are symptoms of a larger problem — a lack of integrity. It infects a few and quickly spreads like a nasty virus. Some people may rise above, but it can be hard to fight back when the message is to chase sales by any means necessary. It is not a good feeling.
But it does not have to be that way. It is possible to set a high bar for integrity, still make money, and grow a company. It is possible to empower teams to make decisions according to what is best for the customer and see steady growth at the same time.
Here is what makes a lovable company different:
People are important
Lovable companies find ways to enable people so that they can take good care of customers. For example, instead of hiring salespeople at Aha! we hire former product managers to join our Customer Success team. That is because we serve product managers. Because there is no sales pressure and no one gets paid a commission, our team is free to use their product management skills and focus on solving problems and guiding customers to grow their happy use of Aha!
Concerns are respected
Lovable companies listen to customers and employees who share concerns. Customer complaints should be seen as an opportunity — these people care about your product and your company enough to let you know something is wrong. Even if you cannot solve every customer’s problem or say yes to every request, people will appreciate your quick and honest response rather than empty promises or (worse) silence.
Change is embraced
Lovable companies are willing to learn and adjust to improve the customer experience. At Aha! we take an interrupt-driven approach to our customers, which sometimes means dropping what we are working on to solve problems and quickly deploying new features. Our approach shows we put customers first and that makes them incredibly happy.
Sure, some companies encourage employees to do or say anything to get the sale regardless of what is best for the customer.
You may even work at that type of organization today. You may find that your company culture encourages people to cut corners or that leaders will sacrifice integrity for sales. But it does not mean you have to follow suit.
How have you seen people sacrifice integrity for sales?