Under-promise & Over-deliver


Talk about a winning combination for customer satisfaction.

Let’s face it, were all in the managing expectations business.

It doesn’t matter how good your work is if someone expects more.

It’s not good enough.

It doesn’t matter how fast you can crank it out, if your client wanted it sooner.

It wasn’t fast enough.

The key is to manage client expectations; but not on the back-end.

Do it upfront and be as overt as possible.

Then, once you’ve created the bar in the customer’s mind, do what you need to jump over it.

That’s where the term out-standing comes from.

I just recently hired a new electrician, Joseph, to do some work in our basement.

The previous owner of my house had left the tangle of wires that needed to get cleaned up.

It’s been a wiry, tangled mess for six years.  It was time do something about it.

Joseph was recommended by another contractor that I really like.

He came down and took a look at the work that needs to be done.  Joseph told me that it would probably take it the better part of the day to get it done, somewhere between six and eight hours.

The day of the actual work Joseph showed up right on time.

I had some other things to do, so wasn’t watching over his shoulder.

When I came back late that afternoon, the basement looked fabulous.

I called him up to tell him how pleased I was.  I asked him how long it took:  was it 6 or 8 hours?

Really, it moved along.  I had to stop for a part in the midst of the day.  Let’s call it 4.  I’ll bill you for 4.

Four hours?

I was impressed.   Joseph could’ve said “eight” and  I would’ve been okay.

“Six”, and I would have been very happy.

Four?  You can guess how I felt.

You can also guess who my regular electrician is going to be from now on, too.

Not to mention all the friends that I’ve raved to about Joseph and his work.

Where do you set expectations with your customers?

How overt have you been?

How much do you under-promise and over-deliver?


This entry was posted in Communication, Customer Service, Sales/Business Development, Trust. Bookmark the permalink.