By John Kueber

Be Honest

The number-one quality people demand from a company is honest communication about products and services. This sounds like a no brainer––but for some brands, “telling it like it is” isn’t the norm.

You may remember when Snapchat got caught by the Federal Trade Commission for making false promises about the disappearing nature of messages sent through the service. The FTC alleged that the company deceived consumers over the amount of personal data it collects and the security measures taken to protect that data from misuse and unauthorized disclosure. Additional lies by the company (combined with a major security breach) enabled outside parties to compile a database of 4.6 million Snapchat usernames and phone numbers.

Users immediately looked around for a replacement application and according to TechCrunch: “When Snap Inc. filed to IPO in February, it revealed numbers showing that growth had plummeted. Snapchat grew just 7 percent in Q3 2016 and 3.2 percent in Q4. That means Snap’s growth fell nearly 82 percent to just 1/5th of its speed before Instagram Stories’ launch.”

Being honest with customers and investors will ensure that proper expectations are set before using your platform or buying your product, which will make for less angry tweets at the end of the day. Looking for a few ways to demonstrate that you’re honest? Admit to a weak product feature when it becomes the elephant in the room, and give credit to competitors when credit is due. Then, improve yourself! Being honest has already put you on the right path.

Be Personal

Many startups fail to scale their businesses (something like ninety percent, according to Forbes) and much of this floundering is due to the lack of demand. The most successful entrepreneurs create a connection with their customer by bringing a personal touch to the sales and marketing process.

According to Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz, finding and retaining his first customers was a result of blog posts on search engine optimization (SEO), which he personally wrote himself while working at his mother’s marketing agency. Rand kept a habit of writing every day, and this habit promoted voice, responsibility, and good habits for the brand he wanted to build.

Since its inception, Moz has raised three rounds of funding – $1.1 Million in 2007, $18 Million in 2012, and another $10 Million in January 2016.

“For the first 5 years of SEOmoz’s life, I blogged every night, Sunday-Thursday,” Rand explains. “I think that long practice has made blog posting and writing in general a big part of our culture and my personal contributions to the business.”

Rand also says he has a “desperate, personal, almost weirdly obsessive need to share things with depth and detail.” By sharing his struggle to learn the ins and outs of SEO basics, raising capital, and team building, Rand was able to connect and grow with an audience that eventually trusted his expertise enough to become customers.

Be Present

You probably have a horror story of being put on hold—after being passed around from representative to representative—only to then be disconnected.

Customer service departments and sales teams must be given the specific, social tools to do there job, and to track customer insights of all kinds. Phone systems have the ability to sync with customer relationship management tools like Salesforce, and can give your support team access to customer information (such as purchase history and recent interactions with your business,) when they need it most. The Harvard Business Review found that the chances of qualifying a lead fall almost 400% if companies wait longer than five minutes to reciprocate contact.

Successful companies invest in the technologies that allow them to interact with customers in an honest, personalized, and responsive way. And with the social technology available to brands, there’s no excuse for leaving a customer hanging out to dry.

*Learn how LiveShopCast uses the power of video e-commerce to connect with customers in a personalized, live sales experience.

John Kueber is the CEO of LiveShopCast.