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Monthly Business e-Tips Vol 7
Issue 1

Do You Deliver?

Promise little and do much. Hebrew Proverb

The question is do you deliver what you promise?

The owner of an automobile repair garage personally calls customers twice a year. His personal touch and relationship building is unusual for that industry, and it delighted me.

The garage is out of the way and I knew I would be paying a little more. But I was intent on giving Dick my business. When I arrived at his shop at for my appointment, another car was in the bay, and I didn't have the time or patience to hang around. Dick apologized, and we rescheduled. I questioned why I was going through all this trouble but remembered those personal calls.

The next time he took my car immediately. But the bill was double what I usually pay for the same service. Since I hadn't inquired about the price, I took responsibility. But when I told him the diagnostic light was on and asked for help, he claimed he didn't know how to shut it off. He also failed to make an effort to figure it out, and suggested I read the manual. Instead, I made a quick phone call and resolved the problem myself.

There was no additional benefit for paying double, actually there was less. I usually get tires rotated, fluids checked, and reset of the diagnostic light. My expectations were doubled and the delivery halved. The mechanic's personal phone calls caused me to anticipate great service and then he let me down. I won't go back.

Make sure your business doesn't disappoint:

  • Create marketing that fits what you can deliver. Know your strengths and stress your competitive advantage in your marketing messages and outreach.
  • Know what needs improvement and work on it. Every business has issues that need attention. Prioritize and fix the challenges that directly impact customers.
  • Mandate consistency with staff that interacts with customers. Train and retrain your people. Reward those who excel and eliminate (let go, not kill) those who don't.
  • Ask your customers how you're doing. Feedback is critical. Don't assume everyone is happy. Be proactive, ask and then take customer comments seriously.
  • Don't settle for satisfied customers. Make sure your customers are thrilled with your products and services. Ambivalence can kill your business. Your customers should be raving and spreading the word.
  • Make sure you aren't giving customers empty words. Show them.
Especially in these challenging economic times, your business must stand out. Diligently set and exceed expectations. Promise less and deliver more. Make it a goal for 2010.

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