It’s not rare for companies to lie to customers. At some point, we have all been in situations where free products were not quite free, or services came with hidden terms and conditions. Such an approach to customer communication decreases loyalty and chances for long-term success, and many CX professionals have talked about it. But what happens when customers are the ones who are being dishonest?

Understanding the reasons behind people’s lies

As a team dedicated to set up businesses for success by helping them meet customers’ expectations, we find it extremely challenging to write about less pleasant sides of user behaviours and attitudes. Accusing customers of cheating shouldn’t ever happen without firm proves.

How do we know that customers lie in the first place? Because people do so in the real world, and many studies have reflected on this phenomenon. For instance, Lindskol and Walters identify six different reasons behind dishonest behaviour in their study from The Journal of Social Psychology:

  • Rescuing someone from harm and shame
  • Protecting yourself or someone else from punishment or disapproval
  • Influencing officers for earnings
  • Showing yourself better, or protecting the gain
  • Persuading others to do something for our own benefit
  • Hurting someone for personal gain

Although there are more detailed findings in the field, this overview can help us form a picture of people’s behaviour. Identifying the motivations behind telling lies is essential for understanding customers’ actions. We will help you do so in the sections below.

Why do customers lie to companies?

Following the above stated, people often tend to be dishonest in communication with others when there is a chance for personal benefit. For instance, a buyer might try to conceal how long the item has been used after the purchase to ensure a successful product return process. In this case, hiding information can be fruitful and guarantee gain. The same applies to other dishonest actions such as camouflaging or repeating information to win discounts and similar.

How to get past the fact your customers lie?

In one of our previous articles, we explored the five essential factors for effective communication with customers. We believe the CX professionals should be prepared to investigate, observe, listen, and remain curious about users’ intentions no matter the context. However, dealing with a lie requires a somewhat different type of focus. Here are our top three techniques of unveiling if a customer is dishonest.

Know your user persona

Who are your customers? Anyone in your company should be able to answer this question without a second thought. However, knowing your customers is an ongoing process and requires constant attention. You can build your knowledge on your customers’ persona by asking a few simple questions:

an illustrated image showing two people getting to know each other and reveal customers lies.
  • How did you first hear of our services?
  • What do you like about our company, products, or services?
  • How does our product, service, or company fit your interests?
  • How does this product help your everyday life?

These questions can help you check the customers’ connection to your company’s broader vision Moreover, they can serve as an opportunity to educate your customers on the usability of your services and help you build stronger bonds.

Practice customer inquiry

“What people say, what people do, and what they say they do are entirely different things.”

Margaret Mead

As American anthropologist Margaret Mead observed, what people say and what people do are entirely different things. Therefore, companies should invest in upskilling their people to hold various conversations with customers. Some of these conversations might consist of inquiring users on their life habits, intentions with the product or service they are purchasing, etc.

Here are some questions support agents and salespeople can use to establish a deeper understanding of a customer:

  • When was the last time you used a similar product or service?
  • Walk me through the process of using this product or service?
  • How do you see the usage of this product or service one to three months from now?

Such an approach can be only beneficial to your business since you create an opportunity to gather feedback on your products’ lifecycle and possibly share it with other stakeholders.

Evaluate previous interactions

Being able to step out and observe an interaction from a distance is a powerful skill. To evaluate communication with customers, you need to have every interaction recorded, protected, and stored. A proper evaluation can help you identify patterns and decode exploiting and unfair behaviours.

an illustrated image showing a process of investigating if a customer is being dishonest to a company.

By analysing timely your interaction with users, companies increase their chances of predicting dishonest actions and preventing customer lies. Moreover, being knowledgeable of people’s behaviours and their ability to repeat undesired actions might save you some money.

Furthermore, having a reliable shipment tracking system might save you headaches. Receiving a damaged item is frustrating, but reporting a product ruined after defecting is cheating.

To prevent such behaviour, companies should be able to double-check the quality of every item being shipped at any stage of delivery. Letting the customers know that you have such a system in place, will decrease the chances of them lying.

Build trustful connections

There are two levels of building trustful connections to prevent customer lies:

  • Strong and sustainable partnerships
  • Caring attitude toward customers

First thing first, having a trustful business partner is always important. If you work in the retail industry, a strong partnership is business-critical. As a retailer, you’ll need your delivery company to be professional, fast, and document each interaction confidentially. If they fail in providing your customer with a seamless delivery experience, you fail too.

Secondly, a caring attitude toward customers will provide you with highly beneficial insights. It will allow you to Th to prevent dishonest actions by sending a regular follow up with your users. Immediately after they receive a purchase, make sure you do one update to check if everything is as expected. A timely follow up will signal that you care for customers and can even prevent cheating intentions.

As our contributor Jeff Epstein explored in one of his recent posts for CXM, live chat can be a great way to catch up with your customers and establish stronger relationships.

Invest in your CRM system

To efficiently track communication with customers, businesses need to invest in their CRM software.

A recent report by Software Advice shows that 74% of all CRM users found that CRM offered improved access to customer data. Furthermore, the SugarCRM report claims that 74% of sales professionals agree that an integrated view of customer information is critical in delivering an optimal user experience.

In the context of customers being dishonest, the CRM software can support the fast identification of buyers who tried to trick the company before. For instance, such software could identify if a customer made more than one account to get a first-time purchase discount.

How to handle situations when customers lie?

Even after you have your customer communication strategy in place, the chances are, some users will try to lie to get a better deal. There is no one right way to cope with a customer who lies to you. Therefore, remain open to revisiting your approach to communication with buyers, employee training, and general brand vision. We advocate for radical transparency as a way of preventing dishonest actions. What is your way of dealing with such an issue?

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