How Can Brands Deliver What They Promise
Let’s try to understand why does your business or brand make a promise?
“As a business, when you make a promise, its assurance to your customers, stakeholders that something will be done. When you deliver what you agree to do, whether verbal or written, your customer knows what to expect, all the time.
This helps you to
- Build trust
- Create commitment or obligation
- Regulate and direct behavior
- Reduce ambiguity
It is important that your business keeps the promises because it is a necessary building block for maintaining and progressing relationships. The larger the brand promise, the greater is the obligation to fulfill it.
Not Delivering What You Promise – Why Is This Happening?
“You agree to drop-dead deadlines to impress the customer, colleague, partner or just to close a business deal.
Many people are casual about making promises. Often promises are made at the drop of a hat with no intention of honoring them. You usually don’t ask yourself “What if you cannot deliver on your word? The world will not come to an end?”
So, How Do You Break Your Promise(s)?
Typically an engagement with a customers beings with a verbal or formal written agreement on the deliverables. When you do not deliver on the commitment, your customer gets upset with your integrity. In other words, you broke the promise you made to the customer.
“Only when you deliver what your promise every time, you can establish your integrity.
You Know What You Want As A Customer and Are Willing to Pay for It
At Dmart, customers want the lowest prices but at a Godrej Nature’s Basket are willing to pay a premium for the quality niche products and excellent service. When you use DHL / Fed-Ex to deliver a package, you expect to pay more and demand the best service. When you buy Mercedes, you expect perfect quality and don’t mind paying more for it. When you go to Tanisq to buy jewelry, you expect to get great help from professionals who will give you smart advice to make you look the best possible.
When you go to a fast food joint, you want quick service. At a casual restaurant, you want good food, consistent quality, fair prices, and a clean facility. At a fine dining restaurant, you pay a premium for a delicious gourmet meal, impeccable service, a memorable experience, served in an excellent environment, by the best attendants in town.
You Can Easily Figure Out What You Want, If You Were The Customer of Your Brand
Your customers pay you based on the service they get. If you treat them poorly, they ask for discounts and lower prices, delay payments or at times just refuse to pay. You get the going market rate for your work if you provide average service. If you provide excellent service and quality, you can demand top dollar.
Now, put yourself in the customers shoes, whom your business is serving. As a customer, let’s understand what your needs and expectations are, and how do you rate your business on the following parameters:
“Now honestly answer this question: Are you providing what your customers want? Identify – How much, what and where can you improve?
Give Customers What They Want
It is very easy to make promises but very hard to keep them. Keeping promises means you have an exceptionally high say – do ratio. The easiest way out is not to make any promise, but that means you are no longer trustworthy and reliable to others.
“It is not difficult for any company to satisfy and meet your customers’ need if you focus on integrity – doing what you say every time and being reliable even when no one else is around to question you.
The way to build brand image and loyalty is by applying these tactics; that help you stick to your promises and become reliable and trustworthy.
Be Realistic and Reliable – If they had a bad experience, because of your previous record of unkept promises, they would factor the anticipated delay and ask for an earlier date than they need. Before committing, it is critical to know the actual go-live date required by the customer to meet their schedules. Work with them to arrive at a realistic date to meet the deadline without making excuses. Ensure your team considers each project as a new opportunity to deliver as promised.
Be Communicative and Responsive – Be accessible and reachable via different channels (phone, email, web, call center) to respond quickly to customer requests. When customers hear from you frequently, they are are peace as they are are aware what’s happening on their project or account. Even if there are some unforeseen delays, they are better prepared and helps build their trust on you, as they see you are putting in the efforts.
Be Cautious and Consistent – When asked for a firm commitment, you often don’t think and quickly say: “I will call you in 10 mins…” or “I will send it to you by…” or “We can get started…” or “I will call you later…” or “We can get finished by…”. So, think before you speak. Do your math before you commit, as you are more likely to promise exactly what you can give.
Winning the customer confidence and trust is like winning a long distance run. Your runners are your employees, your infrastructure. To ensure everyone is consistent, you need to train them, have a process in place to ensure your runners can pace themselves. If you go slow, you will not reach the finishing line in time, and if you go too fast, you will burnout. You need to keep in mind the available resources. The key is to balance and to deliver consistently what you have promised.
Be Empathic and Act on Feedback – Happy customers are the only way to build a profitable business. By putting ‘Customer First’, you get to show that you care about them.
To meet and surpass customer expectations, you need to establish a continuous improvement culture. Understand customers issues with an attitude to improvise. Take care that you do not go on the mode defensive. Admit your mistakes and sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused. To achieve this, you need to have continuous dialogues with customers and seek constant feedback and act on the same.
You need to try and understand:
- What do your customers really need and want?
- Do your customers want it faster, better or their way?
- What will delight them and how much are they willing to pay for the same?
- What problems can you solve to make lives easier?
- How can you act like a partner vs. a vendor?
You need to investigate diligently all concerns and complaints, identify the root causes and resolve it at the earliest. You need to put checks that these problems do not reoccur, train the staff on a regular basis. Use the collective experience of the team to learn, improve and deliver what you promise.
You very well know that new customers are harder to find than keeping the ones you have. Also, a happy and engaged customer can give you additional business, plus refer you to many potential customers.
The moral of the story is to give customers exactly what they want: Communicate what they can expect and how you will deliver it.
In Part I of this series, Why Brands Should Deliver What They Promise, it was all about “As a customer when you pay for the product/service, all you want to be delivered is what you are promised or committed. When this is violated it discusses the impact, it can have on the growth of your business.
Image Courtsey: Slide Model
Innovatus Marketers Touchpoint LLP is a customer experience, marketing, service design, design thinking and business innovation consulting firm, based in India. We offer go-to-market and digital strategy consulting and help our clients rethink and redesign customer and employee value in the digital era. We offer design thinking workshops and consulting, tailored to enable, accelarete or transform your business. We are laser-focused on the problem at hand and your opportunity space, and optimize process to make design thinking and service design principles accessible to your employees who’ve never done it before or stuck-up, and provide “just adequate” theory to help you get moving and achieve outcomes.
You may reach out to Vidya Priya Rao @ +918080015500 or email @ email@example.com
Sign Up to receive latest posts in the area of customer experience, marketing, design thinking and strategy.