In business, conventional wisdom says you should under-promise and over-deliver, but in a crowded marketplace businesses can’t afford to be modest. A lot of business owners operate under the belief that overpromising means knowingly committing yourself to actions that you’re not going to follow through on, whether deliberately or by accident. However, there is a difference between overpromising and lying.
When a company makes a promise or statement that separates them from the din, not delivering—or even just an honest mistake—can signal a permanent change in the way that company is perceived, or at best it can be extremely difficult to turn that image around.
Over-promising, on the other hand, simply means: how radically different is what you do from your competitors, and how relevant is that difference? People tend to make buying decisions often on autopilot, so you’ve got to be able to create brand impact clearly and simply, leaving no mistake as to how you are in fact different than the rest. It’s the source of a promise to your consumer—a promise that you can deliver something the others can’t.
To make a promise you can’t keep, though, is a huge detriment to you. How do you avoid over-promising yet give your customers even more than the expected?
Bring Extraordinary Experiences to your Customers
Avoid over-promising by:
- Setting a realistic time frame. It’s better to say it’ll take you a week to get something done even if you know it will take just a few days. People will always appreciate faster-than-expected turnaround. They’re not as patient if you say it will take you a week and it takes you longer than promised.
- Not over committing yourself. This can a big factor with people that under-deliver. They bite off more than they can chew and over-extend themselves so much that it’s unfortunately easy to under-deliver. When you over-commit yourself you don’t allow free time for mistakes or unexpected events that may come up.
- Developing your brand. The key to delivering an exceptional customer experience is placing them at the center of your marketing strategy. Far too many small business owners fail to articulate the benefits of their operation over the competition. When customers have a clear idea of what to expect from you, you can always set a higher bar to give them more than they thought they would get.
- Going the extra mile. Then when you do more than is required, you win trust. A business that goes the extra mile earns the respect, loyalty and especially important the referrals of its customers.
- Treating people how you want to be treated. Reverse the roles and think of yourself as your customer, think about how you would want to be treated. Think about times when you had outstanding service or experiences and what made them stand out. Think about how you can take those things and apply them to treat people as you would want to be treated.
Businesses need to separate themselves from the herd by providing personalized and rewarding service that takes advantage of why your customers are coming to you in the first place. If done well, you can make customer service into your unique competitive advantage, and use it to turn a buyer into a customer for life.