{A Note to Readers: This is the first in a series of blogs focused on Customer Experience that I’ll be collaborating on with the amazing Katy Wild. Working with Katy, I can always expect to learn something; I trust you will, too. ~ bph}

What does a company with integrity look and sound like? I recently ran across the following quotation by Don Galer (CFO of Snoqualmie Valley Hospital) and it hit home with a recent experience: “Integrity is what we do, what we say, and what we say we do.” A friend of mine had just told me about how his house was damaged by several hail storms that kept pounding his home this spring. After the storms finally passed, his insurance company said the roof was a total loss. Knowing there are a few unethical roofing companies during times like these, he asked for recommended contractors from his insurer.

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He contacted one that had the best reputation and set a date for them to start, which was Memorial Day. The materials were delivered that weekend and placed on his driveway, but on Monday, the workers didn’t show. The explanation was that several wanted off for the holiday. Two weeks later, no one had shown up. My friend called the contractor to hear they were finishing a few other houses but would be there “soon.” The next week, without any notice, the contractor picked up the supplies that had sat on the driveway, only leaving a message that he would contact my friend soon. Two months passed during the rainy season with no messages and no returned phone calls, and what started out as a seemingly ethical company now has a serious shadow over their reputation for integrity.

My friend contacted the insurance company, obtained another recommendation, and signed that roofer to perform the needed work. He then contacted the first company and let them know the contract had expired and he would not renew it. The vendor was appalled!  He was so shocked that he lost the contract! He believed he had several “good” reasons why he had not lived up to the original agreement—even though he had not contacted the customer to convey these reasons.

Most companies have the best intentions to do what they promise. When the unexpected happens, they assume the customer will understand even though they deliver no explanations and give no updates. But customers deserve better.

Integrity is all about making and keeping agreements. Make no mistake—integrity IS what we do, what we say, and what we say we do. Our customers expect no less.