In the rule book for successful careers, one of the most simplistic yet tricky key to success is the power of ‘under promise and over deliver.’ It is indeed a simple statement that is self explanatory. After reading the phrase, your inner voice must have stated that it is one of those behaviors adopted in a business setting where you say something else (under promising) followed by outdoing yourself in your performance (over deliver).
Even while you engage in explaining yourself the rule, you started off by a casual ‘say something else’ and ended with a concrete understanding of the over delivering bit. Indeed, it is the first part, the under promising, that requires artful and wise play of mind. The ‘say something else’ shows how this portion of the story requires more explanation. It can either make your business flourish or languish.
The Under Promising
Companies stand out when they make customers the centre of their attention and planning and base their ethics and mission and value in customer satisfaction. Every company does that, right? Even when every company is rowing their boat in the same direction, many will fail to do it the right way. Customer satisfaction is enhanced by the use of under promising, although it is not an easy task to build a promise and stay true to it in a business setting.
Under promising can be a source of great delight for a customer. The following hypothetical situation can explain why. Imagine being in the shoes of a customer. You have placed an order for a wooden table with customized carving and style. After you place an order at the store you are told that the table would be delivered in a period of five weeks. One random day, four weeks after you place an order, you get a phone call that your table is ready and will be delivered the next day. Additionally, the company also promises that they will send in men to move around furniture to settle in the table.
Following this phone call, you feel two things- happy that your work is done way before the stated time period for it and it also gives rise to the feelings of loyalty towards the company. Your product looks good; it was responsibly placed in your house and the like. In short, every penny was worth it.
The Company and Under Promising
In the hypothetical situation aforementioned, the company makes an ‘under promise’ as a contingency plan. When you placed an order for the table, the estimated time for the finalization of the product was three weeks. To be on the safe side, the estimated time provided to you was five weeks. Keeping in mind delays, errors and unforeseen circumstances, you were not fully acquainted with the timeline of the process. Once the company was sure that your product was complete and it could be sent through, you received your call. This is only a small example of under promising and over delivering done smartly.
Keeping the Customer Informed
There will be several companies that will keep you informed of the progress of your work. This is another technique where the client will not be given a reason to be hopeful but at the same time will feel content with the company. For the same situation of the wooden table for instance, the company might state that the estimated time period for work completion will be five weeks, followed by a promise to keep you informed about the progress of the work. This keeps the customer involved and satisfied that their work is under construction without getting their hopes too high.
Making a Strong Promise
Firstly make a promise you can keep. There is no point in shooting the expectations of a customer off the charts, unrealistically. Secondly, make the promise attractive and strong and avoid a weak promise. You want to see a customer thrilled and excited and not in an unsatisfied mood to run away from what you have to offer.
The Smart Employee
You as one individual employee will get a chance to interact with customers and engage in a process of negotiation. At an individual level, the terms for under promising and over delivery are laid out. When a customer pays a visit to attain a service, they interact with the people of the company. It can either be one employee that deals with the client or multiple employees.
The individual(s) who interacts with the clients can steer the deal by wheeling the under promise over delivery concept. One important part of this is to be united as a team and work together so that the client feels they are in the right place. In a company with miscommunication between employees, the client feels discouraged and confused. Following the undesirable feelings, there is also a negative word of mouth that follows.
Techniques of Under Promising and Over Delivering
Following are some techniques of under promising:
- Free gift with a purchase
- When delivering, lay down all the specifications that were put forward by the client, to make them feel that you had their words on your finger tips
- Leaving a personalized note for the customer
- Encourage them to visit you again by offering them a discount for being loyal customers
Delivering at the Right Time
Before making a promise to your customer, make a promise with yourself. Tell yourself that you will not deliver short or deliver late under any circumstances. Any one of these two can tarnish your image. Additionally, this can put off customers easily and be a source of a great impediment in the growth of the business.
Do not let your customers down. It is easier to keep them happy and satisfied if you understand well the concept of under promising. It is safe to under promise. Even if a client discovers what you really have been doing, they will not hold you responsible for keeping them safe from unrealistic expectations. Make a good promise, act neutral and over excite them in the end!