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ARTICLESMeeting Commitments

BITE AS MUCH AS YOU CAN CHEW

This is an old saying and as always, is profound and means a lot. Even today one could relate it to our daily activities, where we often experience people making promises but rarely keeping them. While this might be acceptable in personal and social relationships it is not the case in business. Here it means making or breaking your business.

Normally one is gullible while believing promises. Only later do you realize that what was said was not what was meant. It takes a few visits for the customer to realize and start discounting promises. He will start to wise up and accept claims with a pinch of salt. Now customers understand that “7 pm” means “9 pm” “definitely it can be done” means “maybe we could do it” or “seems difficult but we may work it out” means “it can’t be done”. Customers would continue doing business swallowing such tall claims till they stumble on an organization that actually keeps their promises.

“WE PROMISE AND DELIVER”. Initially customers would be skeptical with an organization that claims thus, for it is fairly unheard of in today’s time. They are so used to tall claims invariably not met, that they start to wonder “Hmmmm another one promising the moon, I am sure there is some catch to it.”

The only way to prove and support the claim is with actual customer experiences. One satisfied customer leads to another. Remember, “The best salesman is your customer”. Satisfy him and he will never let you down. As much as he is eager to spread news about bad service, he, from subconscious has to boast about the good service he received. He was treated like a king and friends and family ought to know about it. He can’t help but tell everyone. The news spreads fast and people realize that this company actually means what they say. “Maybe it is worth a try”

FULL STEAM AHEAD

Once we reach this point then it is full steam ahead. There is no turning back. Keep your focus on only two aspects namely your promises and on achieving it. Satisfaction has to follow. With these priorities in place, business success and profits will take care of themselves. The logic is extremely simple. Make promises you can meet and meet promises you have made and the result has to be satisfied customers.

The customer now understands that you can match his expectations. Expectations - a customer brings with him. Expectations - that stem from your promises to him. He now realizes that it is better to deal with someone who can meet his expectations and satisfy him than with someone who builds his expectations and eventually lets him down. After all its no fun feeling shortchanged.

Is it better to go with “Jiffy Pizza” who promises delivery in 15 minutes and actually deliver in 30 minutes or is it better to call “Pizza Quickie” who tells the customer that we could certainly deliver in 30 minutes and actually deliver in 25 minutes.

While “Jiffy Pizza” would initially get roaring business they would in time dwindle as against “Pizza Quickie” who might get fewer customers to start but in the long run will keep them and grow.

UNDERPROMISE AND OVERDELIVER

Taking it a bit further, try to exceed your promise and you land with a surprised and delighted customer. UNDERPROMISE AND OVERDELIVER is the strategy. Here you match his expectations and make commitments with room for improvement. You know you can do better but since the customer’s expectations have been met and your commitments are achievable anything more is going to be an unexpected extra for the customer. This should leave him surprised and more than satisfied. Delighted.

“UNDERPROMISE AND OVERDELIVER” is not a secret. All businesses, through market research, studying human psychology, R & D and other business techniques are aware of sensible business practices but still prefer to follow the market trends. So if making tall claims is the order of the day then you have to go along and make similar claims. Whether you can keep up to it or not is another question. It’s all about ‘get that customer at any cost’. Try otherwise. It works.

LAGNIAPPE

“Lagniappe” is another way of delighting your customers. Lagniappe means a “little something extra”. It is a Louisiana French word derived from American Spanish la ñapa, and originally meant a gift given to a customer by a merchant at the time of a purchase. If you ask for a kilo of sugar the merchant will give you a kilo and add a little extra with a smile and “Lagniappe”. Meaning that I have given you your money’s worth but here is something more from me to you. Giving something more is mutually beneficial. While the customer stands to gain so will you in the long run. Think about it.

Say what you mean and mean what you say. Make promises and commitments, live up to them, do something more than expected and you have satisfied customers for life.

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COMMENTS

Ramesh

This is so true as you often see people making promises just to get the business but not keeping up to it.

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