Does your business under promise and over deliver?

When your clients come to you, chances are they have an idea of what they’ll be getting. They walk into a clothing store – it’s clothing; you’re an accountant, they expect to have their facts and figures taken care of and be on their way.

If you make good on the “promise” of delivering a product or service, your customer is happy, right? Chances are, yes. But, what if you could over deliver on your promise? Is there any reason your company can’t? While you don’t want to offer promises outright, it’s good for your employees to know that the promise is unspoken but is a company philosophy – offer more than your customer expects.

An issue a company may run into, though, with under promising and over delivering is that it could set up some unrealistic expectations. Say for example, a customer continually drops paperwork or projects off past deadline and your staff stays late to complete his or her project – this puts a strain on your resources and sets up an unrealistic expectation for your client.  You need to balance delivery and expectations.

As an alternative you could always remind your customer of the stated deadlines and let them know that if you can meet or exceed expectations, you certainly will but it’s not a guarantee. Couch your statements, “It typically takes two days to do this project but I’ll see what we can do,” or “We will do our best to deliver by Monday.”

When undertaking the under promise over deliver premise make sure:

  • You’re transparent in your dealings with your customers. Make certain they understand the process, how long it takes and what they’re paying for.
  • You’re consistent. Explain your firm’s procedures and treat all customers equal. While loyal customers may subconsciously have a higher priority you don’t want to make exceptions or create expectations.
  • You’re honest. If something goes wrong, own up to it.

Your company culture should be one of always performing at the highest level and of going above and beyond whenever possible. You may have a policy of sending out a monthly newsletter, but what if something industry-specific happens between newsletters and it’s information that your customers would benefit from? Implement a policy of sending your client database a quick email to let them know: a new insurance regulation could affect a certain segment of your clients should receive a notification from you, if you’re a pet groomer and you’ve heard of a pet food recall, why not drop your clients a note to let them know. These small touches help your customers know they are more than just a number because you’re looking out for them when they don’t expect it – you’ve over-delivered and exceeded their expectations – and that makes for a happy customer and a long-term relationship with them.

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