– Meet or Exceed Customer Expectations?
Most business owners and managers say their goal is to exceed customer expectations. When is the last time your expectations were exceeded by a company you use? Less than 5% of companies ever exceed their customer’s expectations. In fact, less than 25% actually meet their customer’s expectations on a regular basis. My premise to succeed in business is simple. Do what you say you’ll do. Period! No questions! If you just do what you promise, you’ll be in the top 5 to 25% of all companies you compete with and be able to charge top dollar for it.
At the heart of building a successful business is the concept of “INTEGRITY”. Integrity is doing what you say you’ll do. If you commit to deliver on a certain date, that’s expected without excuses. If you tell your customer you’ll be there on a certain day, you’ll be there without exceptions. If you promise you can handle a bigger job than normal, you’d better figure out how to make it happen even if you don’t have enough money to hire extra people. If your contract calls for certain things you don’t usually do, do them without question. If you have to work overtime to keep your commitments, do it.
Are You Living A Lie?
Do you understand the basic meaning of integrity? Most business think they have integrity but their actions speak louder than words. They often make too many promises and do what’s best for themselves instead of their customers and what they’ve committed to do. I call this the big lie. When you don’t do what you say you’ll do, you’re living the big lie that less than promised is OK with your customers. Guess what? It’s not OK. Excuses and circumstances don’t give you a pass either. Plus your customers will remember your actions for a long time. And they will tell their friends about your lack of commitment to do what’s right. And then guess what? When you don’t have impeccable integrity, your customers will only give you the next job if you’re low bidder by a lot.
Your Promise Is A Contract
Realize that your promise is a binding contract between what you say you’ll do and your actual performance. When your promise matches your performance, you have integrity.
Consider everything you promise to do when you sign a lengthy contract. There is often more than meets the eye. Most written contracts have numerous clauses that require strict conformance. But many companies don’t like to do everything required by the contract and try to skip things that seem unnecessary to them. I’ve had many arguments with subcontractors who don’t want to follow the contract they signed. They think the normal industry practice or what we required on the last job is all that’s required to complete their contractual requirements on this project. This good ‘ol boy attitude creates stress on our business relationship as one party is asking to do less than required and still get full pay for their work. This seems like a lack of integrity to me.
For example, our subcontract requires written prior approvals on extra work in order for subcontractors to get paid. Therefore, when subcontractors don’t submit written requests for change orders before they perform the work, we have the right to reject the request. The subcontractor who didn’t do what their contract required, then complains the general contractor is unfair. The problem is really not doing what one agreed to do.
When you tell the truth and do what you agree to do, whether verbal or written, your customer knows what to expect, all the time. When you sign contracts or make promises, and then change your commitment or attempt to alter the written agreement after the fact, your customer gets confused and upset with your integrity. These issues become evident when the promise and results differ. In other words, the customer didn’t get what they were promised.