Raz Chorev | Socially Acceptable..
B2C, generating business., good people

Being transparent – is it good for business?


See, I’m a simple guy. Not too sophisticated, can’t read between the lines, only get what is being said (hence some difficulties understanding my wife sometimes;)).

I do get annoyed, though, when I realize I’m taken for a ride. When someone is not being truthful, or transparent with their intentions. Some examples:

When someone offers me a great business opportunity, and saying “it’s not for the phone”, and “keep an open mind”. After being approached too many times, I now know to say NO.

This is pretty trivial, isn’t it? Most of us, at some stage, have been approached by a MLM person, and we’ve learned to expect what is coming. The MLM industry have created a reputation for themselves for not being transparent, and sometime even manipulative!

Real estate agents, and second-hand (or Pre-Loved) car dealers have gained similar reputation, for their way of conducting business. If you’ve chosen to be in those industries, and think you’re different, this is exactly what you are – DIFFERENT. The stigma wasn’t created for nothing….

What happened today, really took me by surprise, and has got nothing to do with MLM or Real estate. It is just about not being transparent:

In my line of work, I can work from pretty much anywhere with a power point, and wireless internet – coffee shops are normally great, between the rush hours. It is quiet, friendly atmosphere, I can think, work, and drink a nice Latte….

Sometime I even stay for lunch, grab a sandwich or something…

Recently, I have found a nice little coffee shop, close to home, which is very “homey” in it’s feel, with a fireplace and heavy wooden furniture. There’s a little cheeky cat rubbing himself on between the legs (of the tables and chairs).

The owners/operators are nice, friendly, and quick! So far so good.

Today was one of these days when I stayed for lunch. Such a homey feel to the place, I asked the owner: So, what’s for lunch? and she gave me the list of all the yummy things she had made for the day. I wasn’t so hungry, and took on a sandwich. Standard ingridients included, lettuce, mayonnaise, and chicken breast. All that for $8.50 – Great! bring it on! I asked if she can add a fresh slice of tomato to it. No problem!

When I got the bill, the sandwich was $11.50. I raised an eyebrow – what, a third more for the fresh tomato – $3 for 3 slices of tomato? WOW. I wasn’t expecting this.

Now see, it is not the money. I can afford the $3. But why not being transparent, and tell me upfront this would be the extra charge? Why bring me to a situation when we are negotiating over a few dollars? I’m not there to question their pricing structure.

In fact, I won’t go back there at all.

See, I feel like I’ve been taken advantage of. Sort of being cheated. As a business owner, you can’t cheat your customer. Even better – you can’t make them feel cheated, whether you did it on purpose or not. See what is happening here:

One customer, happy (me), visiting your place of business on a regular basis, 2-3 times a week. All good. Once you made me feel awkward. I’m not coming back. Moreover, I’ll tell other people (you’re reading this, aren’t you?) about my experience. You have not lost one customer. You’ve lost your credibility in the marketplace. Is it worth it? for $3?

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  • Debby Chiang

    It is a disappointment to know businesses are not being honest and upfront anymore. What happened to business ethics? Does it go down the drain at the first mention of money?

    Personally, in the above situation I would suggest to them the importance of being transparent and honest. Depending on how they respond to my suggestion that I would either happily pay the $3 or fight over what has been communicated/promised to me.

    It is the long term gain that set businesses apart from their competition, not the $3 more gained from a customer.

  • http://www.newperspectives.com.au/newsletter.htm roland hanekroot

    Hi Raz,
    Love this blog….so true…so silly….i was at a cafe this morning in bondi having breakfast and asked for some extra toast…. received two tiny triangles….postage size… and was charged $3…plus to add insult to injury a public holiday surcharge of 15%… silly silly silly…. will not got there again



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