As I said when I introduced Mr. Moore, this former Army Drill Sergeant and leader of stock boys in the department store I worked in was one serious, rule-following dude. He had rules for everything. Just when we thought we had heard, learned and figured out a way around every rule (remember, this was before I knew how valuable some of these rules were!), he would throw another one at us.
But the last rule from Mr. Moore that I will share here turned out to be a another one that I still refer to today. Rule #4—“Never tell me what you think I want to hear.” He would lecture us time and again, “Tell it to me straight. I can handle it.” Of course, the last little bit there was always delivered dripping with sarcasm.
All he really wanted was sincerity. And it turns out that is important in all our relationships, personal and professional. A little sincerity goes a long way.
Sure, it’s always easy to tell a customer what he or she wants to hear. It’s not so easy to go back later and try to mend the relationship weakened due to under-delivery on that earlier promise. The best books I have read about this are Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott (http://www.amazon.com/Fierce-Conversations-Achieving-Success-Conversation/dp/0425193373/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1238525977&sr=8-1 ) and Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, et al (http://www.amazon.com/Crucial-Conversations-Tools-Talking-Stakes/dp/0071401946/ref=pd_bbs_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1238525977&sr=8-3# ).
Hit any issues head on and limit their impact. The sooner you deal with the issues, the sooner they will go away. And your customers will appreciate your sincerity and willingness to address the issues straight up. They can handle it.