Honesty is Still
the Best Policy
By Julia Rahn,
Imagine coming to work and already have collected fees, most
of which is pure profit, while your business is closed. This is
exactly what happens almost every day at a small golf academy in
Southwestern Michigan, after the owner, in order to save on staffing
costs, initiated an honesty box on the driving range. Golfers
wanting to use the range when the pro shop is closed can just grab a
bucket of balls, left out the night before, swing away and then drop
the designated fee in the honesty box. Reportedly, a 90% success
rate on amounts collected is had as compared to when staff collects
payment. Furthermore, the honesty policy states that if a golfer
does not have cash in hand, he or she can drop it off at another
time. On many occasion, fellow golfers come into the pro-shop later
in the day to pay for time spent on the range.
Extra cash in hand, minimal setup, no extra staffing costs
are the icing on the cake as far as benefits of such an honesty
program can bring. In addition, an honesty program generates
positive feelings about one’s business, promotes two-way respect,
and fosters business and brand loyalty. Furthermore, these benefits
are not one time gains, as their effects will multiply and often
integrate themselves deep into the soul of a business.
Pairing positive emotions with products and services is a
win-win situation, as folks will more likely remember the
experience and want to return. Anytime someone takes action
while knowing they are “doing good” or the “right thing”,
positive feelings always ensues. Not only have customers
“followed the rules” when nobody is watching but they have also
stepped up to a higher morality level, living out positive
personal and/or community values.
The act of setting out an honesty collection box inherently
means you trust and respect your customers and are showing this
in a very public way. Opening an honesty box and finding
cash or later collecting fees for services already rendered, can
only produce additional respect between business owner and
customer. Customers will not only sense this respect but also
know that this respect was earned, creating yet another feel
Creating customer and brand loyalty is one of the keys to
success for any business. Inherently, an honesty program
clearly conveys the message that the business is dependent on
customers doing their part to keep the business afloat.
Customers knowing they are a part of a business’ success will
keep people coming back.
In addition, to generating all of these benefits between a
business and its customer base, honesty programs can be developed to
also include employees. This expansion to include employees when
developing an honesty program, truly multiplies the possible
benefits exponentially. Not only will your business’ environment be
filled with more positive emotions, employees will take more
ownership in the success of a business, and likely to direct more
positive feelings towards their boss or manager. Staff morale is
likely to increase and be maintained as your honesty program is
developed gets into full working order.
With the benefits clearly laid out, it is now time to create
an honesty program. The different types of honesty programs are
endless and just require a bit of brainstorming to find the perfect
match between your business and your new honesty program. Not all
honesty programs are income generating but all produce the listed
benefits. Here are a few honesty programs currently in use and some
never tried to get you thinking about what might work for your
Honesty box to
collect fees for beverages (hot tea, bottled water, etc.) and
dish for when customers are in need of one more cent or have an
extra cent to give.
supplies to be used as needed in public or employee restrooms.
and vegetable stands with signage asking for cash in exchange
holiday gift wrapping table with collection box for after a
present has been wrapped by the shopper.
refrigerator with healthy prepackaged meals. Once eaten
employees leave money covering the cost of food and labor to
have this benefit.
(tile, carpet, fabric, etc.) often go home with customers,
trusting loaned-out materials will be returned in a timely
While most, if
not all businesses, can be run solely on an honesty box, certainly
most businesses can incorporate some type of honesty program to
generate positive feelings, promote two-way respect, foster customer
loyalty, and improve staff morale. Furthermore, with all of these
benefits and ease in execution, you have to ask yourself honestly,
why didn’t I think of that?
Read other articles and learn more about
Julia Rahn, Ph.D.
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