In the current highly competitive global marketplace, marketers face a difficult balancing act. On the one, they must promote their goods or services as superior to other firms’ offerings. On the other hand, if customers become unhappy because they buy something that does not meet their expectations, they may be lost to the overpromising firm forever. What we should do? Here’s one perspective from a company dealing with high-value clients.
As Joshua Hebert (CEO of Magellan Jets) writes for Fortune magazine:
“We know that everyone stumbles, and when that happens, the most important thing to do is minimize the damage and turn the mistakes into a positive. One of our most memorable setbacks was with a private travel customer who wanted us to help out when one of our competitors let her down. This was no small deal — one of the top celebrities in the world had a mechanical issue with her jet, and needed us to get her from London to New York overnight. What we did next wasn’t the best idea: We promised the world. Although we didn’t quite have everything lined up, we said we could make it happen on a moment’s notice. When we put the pieces together for the flight, we found the pilots would have too much time in the air that day. That would violated safety standards, so we had to tell them we could not complete the flight.”
“Here are a few things to keep in mind when big mistakes feel like the end of the world. Don’t delay bad news. If you don’t let people know about an issue, you’re hurting them and potentially creating an even bigger problem. Trust yourself. When you make a mistake and say, ‘Here’s what I’m willing to do to fix it, and here’s what I’m not willing to do,’ it lets people know what’s most important to you. Being honest and only committing to submit high-quality work are examples of standards to stick by, even in tough situations. Institutionalize your lessons. It’s important to prevent mistakes from reoccurring. After the celebrity incident, we added a new flight support element to our team. Now, when “ASAP” trips are booked, we call customers every 15 minutes within a few hours of the flight for updates on their upcoming flight. Even if there is nothing to report, we touch base so there is no miscommunication.”
Click the image to learn about Magellan Jets.
6 Replies to “Be Careful in Making Promises to Customers”
This resonates in all areas of the service industry. Do not over promise and under perform. Once you lose your integrity it is incredibly hard to earn it back.
This concept can be generalized in a myriad of firms spanning from service to retail. Trust is crucial to the success of a business. The consumer/customer trusts the retailer and if that is breached that is clearly the beginning of a failing business. However, I entirely agree with the comment about delay. If the firm is upfront with the issue it has a significantly better chance to keep its customers happy.