Under Promise, Over Deliver, Repeat

| By Mike Michalowicz (Google+)


Here’s what drives me nuts – when my 2pm appointment calls me at exactly 2 o’clock to tell me they are running late. Why did they have to wait until the last minute?

But what really burns me up, is when they say they will be there in 15 minutes, yet arrives a half hour later. They lumber in at 2:30pm.  Mind you, they promised 2pm. Then promised 2:15pm.  And arrive at 2:30pm.

We have all been on the receiving side of this scenario. And perhaps, just perhaps, we have been guilty of committing this crime, too.

The problem is that this scenario is the classic Over Promise, Under Deliver. We commit to something (like arriving at 2pm) and then only when it is overly apparent that we failed, we come clean (our call, right at 2pm, stating the obvious… we are running late). That’s the under deliver part.

But it gets worse. We then set a new over promise that we can only achieve if somehow our car grows wings (we’ll be there in 15 minutes). And then we again under deliver by arriving 30 minutes late.

This Over Promise, Under Deliver scenario plays out in all facets of business, not just when driving to meetings. High expectations for a great product, are met in fact with a marginal product. Anticipated great service, ends up being not so great. Promises for an on time, prompt call are met with a late, rambling call. And every time this happens it destroys our reputation.

If you want your business to flourish, you must Under Promise and Over Deliver. And the funny thing is you could still deliver the exact same product or service as the other guy. The only difference is you will be setting the stage for success, while he is setting it for failure.

Let’s go back to the car. Say you set the meeting for 2pm. At 1:30pm, when you realize you are not going to make it on time, you immediately call the customer. You apologize that you are going to not make it at 2pm, but that you will be there by 2:45pm (knowing that even if your car got a flat you could make it by 2:30pm).

The client thanks you for giving them notice since they now don’t need to twiddle their thumbs waiting for you. Then when you arrive at 2:30pm, they are pleasantly surprised that you are early for the meeting.

Both scenarios you arrive at 2:30pm. In the Over Promise, Under Deliver you are a rude, inconsiderate jerk. In the Under Promise, Over Deliver you are a hero.

Always deliver beyond the expectations. Always.



Posted in Customer Loyalty, Customer Service, Entrepreneur Strategies,

One Response to “Under Promise, Over Deliver, Repeat”

  1. Zappos was the master at this process. They would say your order would arrive in 5 business days, yet they would FedEx overnight and upgrade the customer to VIP status.

    What other businesses have used Under Promise, Over Delivery to great success?

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