Keep your promises

Most of us have felt let down by an individual or business because they made a promise but didn’t deliver, or we don’t understand something.

The problem for a business that fails to keep a promise is that it creates distrust for the customer. It also impacts their loyalty and reduces the likelihood of future sales or referrals. It’s also an extra cost for the business as it has to answer the query or complaint.

There are 4 rules to follow to make sure you keep your promises:

  1. Be clear about what you promise – this comes back to open honest communication. As well as not over promising, it is important to limit the number of promises. The more you make, the more it will cost to set up processes to meet them. A smaller number of promises doesn’t have to impact the customer experience. Remember, most people value simplicity over complexity.
  2. Map your processes to your promises. Make sure you can deliver what you promise. If you can’t, change the process or the promise. Remember to check any 3rd party processes you use as well.
  3. Track changes. If anything such as a change of staff or a new system happens, check how that could impact the promises you have made to your customers – and tell them if they have to change (whether for better or worse).
  4. Make a key promise – we will tell you if, for any reason, we can’t deliver our promise”. If you have to let someone down, it’s much better to tell them before they find out. Apologising, explaining and resetting their expectations shows you care about them as a customer. It can actually improve loyalty.

Try to understand what information your customers need and when by completing customer personas or avatars (detailed written descriptions of your typical customers, including likes, dislikes, what stresses them out, what challenges or ambitions they have, what makes them happy), then look at each step of your business process. Is it clear what you want the customer to do? Have you given them the information they need to do it? Is it written in their language – would they understand it or have you used industry jargon?