TIP 15: Always Over-Promise, and Under-Deliver.

A little lie never hurt anyone.

Negative Ned Says…

Ned with Long Nose

“I want my customers to leave happy — and as soon as possible —, so I tell them what they want to hear. If they want something delivered on a Tuesday, I say, ‘Tuesday’s no problem!’ — even if  I know it won’t get there until Friday. They’ll leave satisfied. Or if I’m tied up and I know I can’t get away, I just tell them I’ll only be a few minutes. Even if I leave them waiting for half an hour, that’s okay. Hey, customer satisfaction is what it’s all about, right?”

Positive Paul Says…

Positive Paul

“The solution to this problem is simple: Do what you say you will do. If you make a promise, deliver on your promise. If you say something will arrive in one week, make sure it happens. If you know there will be a delay, communicate that to the customer immediately. Customers are more upset by a lack of communication — by being left in the dark — than by delays and mistakes.

It is far better to set appropriate expectations or to set expectations that are lower than your ability to deliver, and then over-achieve. When you beat a deadline or offer a bonus that your customer is not expecting, you create a delighted and now loyal customer who will return for more business, as well as recommend you to her friends.”

A Real World Example

Adele Berenstein’s Story

(Ontario, Canada)

Adele hired a contractor to aid with a home renovation project. While most people report horror stories regarding contractors who don`t show up when expected or who don’t return calls, Adele had the reverse situation. The contractor spent time up front discussing the work that would be done and the sequence of events. On the first day, which is typically the most stressful when it comes to renovation projects, he had a team of people arrive at a specific time and leave before the next wave of skilled workers showed up. The work scheduled for that day was completed in less time than expected. A few extras were included at no charge. And the premises were cleaned up before the contractor left.

When asked if she was satisfied, she replied “You bet!” Would she do business with this contractor again? Of course! Adele couldn’t wait to recommend him to everyone who asked about her renovation.

Zoe Saint-Paul’s Story

(Baltimore, MD, www.SlowMama.com)

“It took me months to find a sofa that would work in our living room. I probably made half a dozen trips to a furniture store called Su Casa last fall to look through their style books. Finally, I narrowed my choices and went in on a day when the store was having a sale. It turned out, only in-store items were discounted, but the owner overheard me talking. He personally gave me feedback on the sofas I was considering and then offered me an amazing discount on the one I wanted.

Next, I had to pick a fabric. I brought two swatches of fabric home and after two weeks of not being able to make up my mind, I went back to the store. I explained my ridiculous dilemma to the owner, who promptly suggested a solution. He would be happy to order the sofa in both colors, and I could choose the one I liked best when they arrived. He said he’d sell the other one in the store. Not only that, but he helped me pick out the fabric for my matching pillows!

The sofas arrived five weeks later, and there was no delivery fee. The driver brought in the cushions in both colors. We picked one and now we have a lovely new sofa in our living room. From start to finish, the owner of Su Casa offered above and beyond customer service. He never made me feel stupid or bothersome. And he made it easy for me to buy from him.”

Moral to the story: Do more than you say you will do. It will shock your customers so much that they’ll have to tell all their friends!

Strategies to Turn This Around

Under-promise and over-deliver.

  1. Listen to what the customer wants and needs.
  2. Provide realistic timeframes, then work to beat them.
  3. If you can’t deliver on your promise, communicate immediately.


Remember: Do what you say you will do – and more!

“Here is a simple but powerful rule —always give people more than what they expect to get.”

— Nelson Boswell

© 2012 by Barbara Khozam Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this message may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without written permission of the publisher.

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