For the past 35 years I have done business with thousands of subcontractors, suppliers, architects, engineers, consultants, attorneys, vendors, and brokers, as well as an untold number of retail outlets and stores. Based on my experience, I have only found a few companies who back their promises with actual results and care about putting the customer first. It’s not difficult to satisfy customers and give them what they want if you focus on a single concept: integrity – doing what you say you’ll do every time. Customers don’t know what to expect when you don’t consistently deliver what you promise. The old business motto to under-promise and over-deliver is a flawed concept that creates confusion and a lack of trust and with customers. Under this motto, customers ask themselves: “Is their promise the actual date they will perform?” “Did they under-promise to give themselves some leeway in their commitment?” “When will they really deliver?” “Are they telling the truth?” “What’s the real deal?”
Customers just want what you promised and what they paid for. As I have said many times, the number one ingredient to building a profitable business is…
You keep customers by giving them what you promised and committed to deliver. And when you don’t give customers what you promised, you lose them to competitors. And without customers you have no business! So keeping customers is easy: give customers exactly what’s promised.
When you go to a fast food restaurant, you want quick service and competent service. At a casual restaurant, you want fair prices, good food, consistent quality, and a clean facility. When you visit a prime steakhouse, you pay top dollar and want an incredible meal, a great experience, impeccable service, served in a fabulous environment, by the best waiters in town. It’s easy to figure out what you want when you are the customer.
At Wal-mart, customers want the lowest prices but don’t expect the best service. When you use Fed-Ex to deliver a package, you expect to pay more and demand the best service. When you go to Nordstrom to buy a sport coat, you expect to pay a fair price and get great help from competent employees who’ll give you smart advice to make you look the best possible. When you buy Mercedes or BMW, you expect perfect quality and don’t mind paying more for it.
Now think about your business. Put yourself in your customer’s place. As a customer of your business, what would you want and expect?
Excellent Good Average Poor
Are you providing what your customers want? Where can you improve? Customers will pay you based on the service they get. If you treat them poorly, they ask for lower prices. If you are average, you get the going rate for your work. If you provide excellent service and quality, you can demand top dollar.