Perfecting under promising and over delivering
Even with the best intentions of creating a fantastic customer experience, sometimes businesses and their people commit to unrealistic deadlines. This, in turn, can cause them to let customers down. So instead of over promising and under delivering, why not build the opposite into your business practices? Build customer delight and loyalty by under promising and over delivering. Drawing on the coaching and training work we’ve been doing for businesses with their professionals, here are some ideas to get you on your way.
1. What’s the customer’s real deadline?
Sometimes we assume customers’ deadlines. We project when we think they’ll need our product, service or action by and cause unnecessary business stress in the process. So ask the customer for their deadline from the outset. You may find there’s more time available. And if the timescale is tight for you, be honest with them. Is it possible to deliver a specific part of the project, service, action etc by then with other elements being completed at a slightly later date? If so, make sure you do deliver as promised.
2. Prioritise by deadlines
Can you move away from a first come/first served approach – methodically processing one customer at a time depending on when they placed their order?
One customer may not need your product or service so soon, where for another it’s vital right now. Keep everyone happy by putting customers’ deadlines at the heart of your processes. If some clash and cause problems for you, then talk and see if there’s any margin for moving the dates with any of them.
Alternatively, try sweetening things by offering a small discount or other incentives to extend the deadline. Or quickly call in reinforcements!
3. Be ahead of schedule
In today’s world, deadlines are sadly more often missed than achieved. Customers are really impressed when you deliver slightly ahead of schedule. So assess the time it will take to get your product/service/ action completed and then communicate a deadline a day or so afterwards (but deliver a day early).
Don’t deliver too far in advance of the deadline as customers won’t trust your word. Also, don’t always expect customers to spot that you’re ahead of schedule. Emphasise it to them, albeit subtly.
4. Perfect your processes
Look at the current obstacles in your business operations. What gets in the way of you delivering your promises to customers? Can more people, outsourcing, better time management, faster suppliers, project-management software or other IT applications improve your efficiency? Ask for an external viewpoint if necessary to spot ways to fine-tune your approach.
5. Do more than you said
Can you create added value around the product, service or action that you deliver? For example, can your report be in a format that fits easily with the client’s house style? Can you include samples or testers of complementary products when you dispatch the product a customer’s bought? Can you give a voucher, giving a slight discount off the next purchase or if the customer recommends a friend?
A word of warning though – added value does impress, but only if the initial product or service purchased meets expectations. Get the basics right first.
The more you understand why a customer is buying this service or product from you, the more chances you’ve got to tick their boxes and delight them. What issue are they trying to resolve? What need are they hoping to satisfy? What other factors pivot around this purchase? If you can find these out, then ways in which to under promise and over deliver will become clear. And you can look forward to a happy future built on this customer’s pleasure and loyalty.
For more advice on enhancing your customer experience contact us or tel. 01483 429111.