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A Promise Made…

A lot of businesses are good at making promises; many are not good at delivering on them.

Value, reputation, and continued business prosperity all come from doing what you said you would and delivering on the promises made to your clients. We live in an age where as business owners we are increasingly under threat from global competition and technology disrupting all market segments. In this article, I share some thoughts on being known for doing what you said you would.

Small Business is right in the firing line, but you can survive and prosper by defining more closely, where customers value your business and understanding, how you compare to the competition in your market.

Securing your financial future requires you to better understand your value and business model. It isn’t an optional extra to not survey your clients any more. Those businesses who don’t understand their market, their customers and their competition will be like the candlestick makers when electric light was invented, the buggy makers when cars began driving down the street.

Don’t think it can’t happen to you, because it will. Unfortunately, over 80% of business owners are either not aware or too lazy to do the work necessary to understand what their customers need, want or value.

We get let down a lot these days by corporations; anyone who has dealt with an airline, telco or other large faceless organisation will have no doubt experienced this. We don’t get what was promised.

The great news for Small Business is that this provides an opening; if you’re only willing to do the work to take advantage.

Yes, this means understanding your market, your competition, yourself and your customers and it definitely requires you putting a human face on your business and delivering or exceeding your customers’ expectations or your promises. It is easier than ever to switch to another brand if we don’t get what we want.

Here are three ways you can excel in delivering on promises:

Make it tough for customers to switch; surprise and delight them with your service and delivery.

Every team member needs to have the flexibility to ensure promises are delivered on and fixed where there is a problem.

Have a service charter that everyone knows, and anyone can implement.

I recently received a surprising and delightful experience from two organisations:

The first was my bank, Bendigo Bank, they had opened a super account for me, and the staff member had neglected to say the chosen account didn’t attract interest. A few months down the track I noticed no interest was going into the account and the bank manager and the board of the community bank backdated the interest for that period and changed the account to one which did attract interest. It was superbly handled.

The second, I was doing some online marketing work with a company who made a particular promise, and when this didn’t eventuate, they delivered over $5,000 of additional services to make up for it. I feel this was an amazing and unexpected demonstration of their commitment to delivering on promises.

What can you do in your business to surprise and delight customers by delivering on or exceeding your promises? Make a plan today to put those ideas into action and enjoy being famous as a result.

Originally published on Smallville.

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