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ARTICLESMeeting Commitments

COMMITMENTS

Commitment to your customer has him committed to you. If you are only going to make promises and not keep them, he will lose his trust in you and soon will look elsewhere for his business. Think, plan and commit to your customer. Give leeway for contingencies. With this you have a plan of action and schedule in place. Should things go wrong you might still gain ground as you have a contingency on hand. This gives you comfort and confidence to deliver and have a satisfied customer in the end. 

If you expect materials in 3 days, keep a contingency and commit delivery to him on the 5th day.

If on the other hand you are not able to keep to the schedule, it is better to inform him in the beginning. It makes sense to be honest from start than be forced to cover up later. This might mean losing him today but he may return another day where you are in a position to meet his requirement. Customers develop respect and faith for a vendor who values his commitments to his profits. You also have the satisfaction of not letting him down and landing with a dissatisfied customer. A dissatisfied customer normally shares his experience with an average of eight to ten people. So if you can get referrals from satisfied customers you can also lose eight to ten times the business due to one dissatisfied customer. Don’t be tempted to commit that you cannot keep.

Having committed it is not always possible to keep up to it. If so, explain and keep the customer updated at all stages. This means attention to him and not taking him for granted. Call him before he calls you. It makes a big difference, as it shows concern for his schedule. Explain the situation. He is now aware of the effort you have put, in keeping your commitments. Maybe he is in a position to help you with alternates.

If promised services are met then, all is well. But if it is not then, it gets more embarrassing to explain why and where it went wrong. This would lead to cover ups, creating more problems and complications thus ensuring that the customer gets away from you.

Your customer has scheduled his activities based on your commitments. It is not always possible to keep your schedules is understandable. But not informing him is unforgivable. You could be jeopardizing a chain of his activities and in the bargain could be ensuring a slim chance of ending up with a satisfied customer. Let's for a moment put ourselves in his place

Would we take such surprises quietly? What would be our reaction? Would we reschedule our activities?

The normal human reaction would be to get upset and angry.

-You might never believe this person again as he has let you down.

-I will delay his payment and let's see if he likes it.

-He should compensate me for the inconvenience.

If this is the normal reaction then don't you think your customer would react similarly? This situation warrants quick rectification. Call, explain and pacify the customer. Who knows, he might understand and give you another opportunity.

Activities do not run on a clockwork schedule. Innumerable problems are encountered involving a chain reaction. But when you make a commitment give sufficient buffer and stick to it. If you cannot keep up to a commitment then inform your customer and explain. If you throw an unpleasant surprise at him he is sure to get mad. Keep him informed and he would understand and accommodate.

Try it. It works.


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