organization responsible for delivering on promises that form the backbone of the brand. Marketers should ask, “Are we prepared to deliver on this promise today? And if not, when?” United Airlines did this well in its September 2015 Hemispheres magazine: “Our fresh and healthy food menu is now available to United Club members and guests at all 22 United Club locations in our seven domestic airport hubs. By the end of 2015, the new menu will be available at all United Club locations in the U.S.”
Did they simply forget to respond to that customer email? Or are there more systemic problems that keep them from delivering on certain promises on a regular basis?
3. Keep Your Promises Through Greater Transparency
Marketers should ask, “Are we prepared to deliver on this promise today? And if not, when?”
In the days before Uber, I would often call for a taxi that never arrived. This left me stressed and sweating to find another way to get to my favorite restaurant across town - or worse, to the airport. Uber’s certainly not perfect. But the transparency that it offers into its driver locations, projected fares, and surge pricing makes customers perceive that Uber is keeping its small promises.
2. Surface Organizational Awareness Of Small Promises
As you look at your customer interactions, determine if there’s any underlying data - like inventory or timing - that you could present in real time to further help you set realistic expectations with customers.
It’s often hard for us to see our own bad habits, but as luck would have it, we generally don’t have a hard time noticing others. Take advantage of this human quirk by asking employees to point out when they hear their colleagues making (or designing, or developing) small promises.
Don’t forget: Customers have long memories. Make sure the promises you make today, are ones you can keep tomorrow.
Make the discussion of small promises a topic of weekly team meetings. Ask for examples of promises kept - but perhaps most importantly, ask employees to reflect on promises that they didn’t keep and why.
Make sure the promises you make today, are ones you can keep tomorrow
Kerry Bodine Co-author of Outside In | Kerry Bodine & Co. Kerry Bodine is an independent customer experience consultant and the co-author of Outside In: The Power of Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business. Her ideas, analysis, and opinions have appeared on sites like The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, Forbes, USA Today, and Advertising Age. She holds a master’s degree in human-computer interaction and has designed interfaces for websites, mobile apps, wearable devices, and robots.
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