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Ever said that you liked something (an outfit or a home-cooked meal) to protect a loved one’s feelings?

“Yada-yada-yada-ed” your way out of an uncomfortable conversation with an acquaintance?

We all have! But in business, there’s no room for “versions” of the truth.

If 20 years of running a company has taught me anything, it’s that honesty is always the best policy. And customer service expert Shep Hyken definitely agrees. In his recent post, “Six Reasons You Shouldn’t Lie to a Customer,” Shep shares several reasons you should never lie in business. Here are three I found particularly relevant for staffing firms:

  • You lose credibility and trust with clients and candidates.
  • It can undermine your company’s reputation on both sides of the employment equation.
  • The customer may leave and never come back (and we all know how much more expensive it is to replace a client than to keep an existing one).

Shep’s big lesson? It’s pretty simple: don’t lie to your clients or candidates!

Be honest instead:

  • Don’t present your staffing firm as “perfect,” especially when it comes to your customer service. Instead of striving for perfection, strive for honesty. It builds trust, builds loyalty and builds your reputation.
  • Be transparent when things go wrong. When you fail to meet a staffing customer’s expectations, transparency is critical to effective service recovery – and a reflection of your honesty. If a problem arises, be a window – not a door. For example, share insights about what you believe may have contributed to the problem. Instead of “yada-yada-ing” your way through an explanation or using vague, blanket statements, provide a reasonable level of detail. Your candor will help restore trust, set the stage for resolution, and potentially prevent the problem from recurring.
  • Selectively say “No” to customers. If you don’t have the resources, expertise or capacity for a project, be honest. Your customer may be initially disappointed, but that’s better than failing to meet their expectations (and potentially losing their business for good).

Let’s face it. No staffing firm is great at EVERYTHING, and we’re all human. Focus on doing the best work you can, exceeding customers’ expectations and being forthright in everything you do. You’ll build long-term, loyal relationships that will fuel your success for years to come! And your pants will never be on fire.

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