Eleven Ways To Honor God As An Honorable Customer

| November 19, 2019

Typically, when we talk about marketplace Christianity, we are referring to how business professionals operate in the marketplace (e.g., business owners, managers, sales professionals, service workers, etc.). But for most people, the opportunity to honor God in the business world emerges primarily on the other side of the checkout counter–as the customer.

In our quest to do business God’s way, perhaps the most overlooked area of our marketplace engagement as Christians concerns the manner in which we operate as customers–that is, we who purchase products and services. This applies in both our personal shopping, and if you’re running a company, this also applies to how we treat our vendors.

Whether as Christian business professionals or Christian customers, our attitudes and behaviors in the marketplace are either attracting people to Jesus or repelling them away from Him. As Christians, we ought to be the most honorable customers, and I have become convinced this is a prerequisite to doing business God’s way.

11 Ways to Honor God as an Honorable Customer

1. Pay on time.

Unless the company has volunteered to be your lender, please do not treat it as such by taking their products and services yet withholding on-time payment. Most companies are not in the lending business and suffer when they have to spend extra time and resources pursuing overdue payments.

Of course, if you can’t afford it, don’t buy it in the first place.

2. Define what you’re paying for … and what you’re NOT paying for.

Always be clear about the scope of what you’re paying for. If you settled for the company’s low-priced “basic” option, don’t expect to reap the benefits of their “premium” option. Manage your own expectations.

If there’s false advertising going on, that’s a separate issue.

3. Respect the brand.

Recently, I was at a well-known superstore at around 10 p.m. on a weeknight when, unsurprisingly, there was an apparent shortage of cash registers open in relation to the large amount of people waiting in the few checkout lines that were open.

Frustrated, the man in front of me turned around and said, “I can’t believe this! They NEVER have enough checkout lines open!”

I replied, “I guess that’s how they keep their prices so low.” Although I said this tongue-in-cheek, this was simply the reality. More checkout lines means higher prices … which is not why either of us were shopping there. No, we wanted “everyday low prices” as this company promises and delivers.

Respect the company’s brand promise … not what you think their brand promise should be. If the brand doesn’t align with your values or worldview, take your business elsewhere.

4. Stop the endless quest for cheaper.

Get realistic about pricing. Cheap prices usually means someone is getting exploited down the line. Those factory workers working for virtually nothing might not be getting exploited in your own country, but somewhere, someone often is getting taken advantage of.

5. Help companies save money when reasonable.

When companies save money, they can provide better service and stay in business longer.

Here are a few examples of ways you can help companies save money…

Minimize returns.

In the U.S., approximately 8% of all purchases are returned to the store. While some of these returns are the company’s fault (e.g. defects, etc.), reconsider returning stuff when it’s your own fault.

Read customer service information already provided.

Check the company’s website and other reference sources before you pick up the phone and waste the company’s time providing answers to questions that are already answered on the company’s website, etc.

Use bank draft payments.

In certain businesses, paying with ACH bank draft can help vendors avoid those hefty credit card transaction fees. This is the default way I pay my company’s vendors, and they greatly appreciate it.

Even if it seems like the company is “big enough” to absorb the loss, aim to prevent unnecessary expenses to the company on your account. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

6. Don’t bully their people.

When we pay for something but our expectations are not met, it’s tempting to unleash our frustration on the company’s employees in ways that are dishonoring to God (e.g., passive-aggressive behavior, making threats, being quick to leave a 1-star review, etc.).

When something goes wrong, calmly explain the problem. Communicate with the spiritual fruit of gentleness with the heart of a peacemaker.

7. Be kind to sales professionals.

Sales professionals are faced with daily rejection at a level most of us will never experience or fully appreciate.

If you’re not interested in what the salesperson is offering, don’t let him or her waste your time, but don’t be unkind either. Politely tell the person you’re not interested. Then, move on.

When you get an unwanted, salesy email in your inbox, don’t get angry and give a nasty reply. Simply set a filter in your inbox to prevent that person’s or organization’s emails from reaching your inbox.

Genuine kindness in business is underrated.

8. Pray before posting/speaking a negative review in public.

Several times, I have typed a negative review for a company on Facebook, Yelp, etc. but then deleted it before posting. I restrained myself because it occurred to me that I had not done enough to allow the company to resolve the issue privately.

Apply the Golden Rule when it comes to ratings and reviews. Cumulatively, these ratings and reviews can make or break a company.

9. Give constructive feedback.

If you truly want the company to succeed, let them know how they can improve. Help them get better by offering helpful suggestions for improvement.

With that said, don’t be condescending or angry in how you deliver the message, or you may lose credibility, rendering your potentially helpful feedback useless.

10. Walk in forgiveness.

Sometimes, companies will simply disregard our grievances. What then? First, forgive.

11. Praise companies publicly.

Our theology of work is revealed, in part, by our level of gratitude for the people who provide our products and services in the marketplace.

Unfortunately, it never occurs to most of us to write a public review for a company unless it’s about something negative.

Be a Christ-centered customer. Be a patron with the protective heart of God, helping companies succeed so they can continue providing value for our communities … and so their workers can see Christ in us.

Let it be said by the clerk at your local shop that Christians are the most honorable customers.

This article was republished with written permission from the Theology of Business Institute. The original article is located here. 

Category: Finances

About the Author ()

Email | Website | Darren Shearer is the host of the Theology of Business Podcast and director of the Theology of Business Institute. He is the author of "The Marketplace Christian: A Practical Guide to Using Your Spiritual Gifts in Business" and "Marketing Like Jesus: 25 Strategies to Change the World." Darren is also the founder and CEO of High Bridge Books , which provides professional book publishing services for inspiring thought leaders.