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Why Being Honest to a Fault is Always the Best Policy
If you went to grammar school here in the US, chances are you’ve heard the old parable about George Washington and the cherry tree. To refresh your memory, for his 6th birthday our future first president received a shiny new hatchet as a gift. We know this seems like an odd gift to give to a 6-year-old today, but back in the 1700s it was practical to give kids useful tools to help with chores around the farm. It also gives a great teachable moment to illustrate what it means to be honest to a fault.
As the story goes, eager to play with his shiny new hatchet, the young George Washington would go outside and test it on his father’s tallest cherry tree until he had accidentally tested it too many times and the tree fell down. Upon finding that his tree had fallen, George Washington’s angry father demanded of his children an answer as to who had chopped down his cherry tree, to which a brave young George replied with the famous phrase, “I cannot tell a lie. It was I who chopped down the tree.” Upon hearing this, George’s father was so filled with joy that his son had done the right thing by telling the truth that rather than punishing the boy he instead rewarded him.
This story was meant to instill in kids the idea that it is always best to tell the truth, even when it’s scary and can be to their own detriment.
This is the idea of being “honest to a fault,” and it is one of the pillars upon which integrity is built. If I had a nickel for every time my wife asked me how a particular outfit looked on her, I might be a very rich man. But on those days when a particularly bold fashion choice might not be the best idea for that night’s occasion, I find myself in a position where my honesty might hurt her feelings, but dishonesty might lead to embarrassment later on or to her just feeling uncomfortable in our surroundings. A good phrase to pair with “honest to a fault” in some cases might be “the truth hurts!”
Now, we’ve all heard the horror stories and we’re well aware of the stigma – credit card processing isn’t always the most honest of business ventures. It’s not uncommon for a business owner to have come across a smooth-talking sales agent from a credit card processing company who promises the lowest rates with no additional fees and no surprises only to ink a signature and find that the surprises were in the fine print all along.
Where money is involved, chances are there will often be some degree of dishonesty. But what if there wasn’t? What if a company came along that didn’t want to chop down the cherry tree at all?
If we were to sum up the idea of how 360 Payments is honest to a fault we would use the word transparency. Do we make a profit off of each account we sign? Sure we do, this is a business, but we are transparent about what we charge and we honestly go out of our way to help businesses – even when it’s to our own detriment. While we’re busy tending to one customer’s specific needs it’s often at the expense of time we could be spending on making another sale. But when we sell a particular customer on using our service, we make a promise that they have their own personal rep should they ever need our help, and we’re being honest when we make that promise. We may not always win a deal based on offering the lowest prices, but we sure as hell keep customers for life by offering the best customer service in the industry. In cases where a potential customer already has a good deal, we’re also transparent about that and let them know that the best thing that we can offer them is our personal standard of customer service.
Courting a prospect to earn their business as a credit card processor is similar to courting a mate in a potential romantic partnership. Some sales reps are in it for short-term gratification, often in the form of a bonus check, and these are the credit card processors around whom bad stigmas are built. They make a lot of false claims to get what they want, and once the deal is signed they disappear and stop answering their phone. 360 Payments is in it for the long-term relationships. As anyone who’s ever been in a long-term romantic relationship knows, if there’s anything you think your potential partner might need to know in the future, it’s best to put it all on the table from the beginning. Eventually your partner will hear you fart in bed, and if that’s not something they’re comfortable with then it would have been better to have moved on early in the courtship.
Most people don’t mind the things we think they might shy away from nearly as much as they do mind being lied to about those things. Nobody wants to begin any relationship under false pretenses.
The George Washington cherry tree story is one where the protagonist made a mistake and had to own up to it. Although we know we are certainly willing to own up to our mistakes, the important thing to remember is that mistakes have been made within the payments industry as a whole. Our honesty may not represent the entire industry, but it goes a long way towards cleaning up a long-existing stigma. By being honest to a fault, we earn the right to represent 360 Payments.
Want to know more about what makes 360 Payments different from the other credit card processors out there? We’d love to show you. Give us a call at 1-855-360-0360 or drop us a line on our website to learn more.
PS – Want to read more posts about how we live out our values? Click here, here, here, and here.
PPS – 360 Payments sets the gold standard in customer service. Here’s how we do it.