The Secret to Getting Great Customer Testimonials – Start Under-Promising and Over-Delivering

By 19th October 2014Latest News

One of the questions I often get asked is – How should businesses go about getting great customer testimonials? Of the many pieces of advice I could give, probably the most important and straightforward that I share is this – Don’t OVER-PROMISE AND UNDER-DELIVER, Do UNDER-PROMISE AND OVER-DELIVER. Do this correctly in a professional, business like manner and you’ll end up with delighted customers who’ll happily tell the world how fab your products or services are, again and again.

If you’re in business, you’ve no doubt heard the phrase ‘Over-Promise and Under-Deliver’, it’s certainly something I’ve experienced on numerous occasions, from both a personal and professional perspective. For me, it can be as simple as a potential supplier promising to deliver something at a particular date and time, but all too often they actually deliver late and make excuses for doing so. The effect for me (when I stop and think about it) is quite dramatic – my confidence in that individual and organisation takes an immediate dive and the result is that I’m unlikely to ever buy their products or services ever again and I certainly won’t be recommending anyone else do the same, quite the reverse – I’ll probably end up tweeting my bad experience!

I think there are a number of reasons why people over-promise and under-deliver, some are just super keen to a make a sale or win a new account and genuinely do intend to deliver on their promises, but fail to do so perhaps through a lack of planning. Unfortunately, I also think there are a few unethical individuals who sadly, know that they can’t deliver what they promise, but are still prepared to say whatever they can to to get what they want.

It really doesn’t need to be that way, with a little thought and planning, it’s easy to delight your customers and turn them into evangelists for your business, just try the following:

  1. Be realistic about what you promise customers – whatever business you’re in, don’t put yourself and your team under unnecessary pressure by making a promise you can’t keep e.g. can you easily deliver a product in 3 days? If you can’t, don’t say you can – and if you don’t know these basics about your business, then research them. That way, when you make a commitment, you can feel confident that you can keep it and not disappoint your customer.
  2. Build in some ‘wiggle’ room – if possible, give yourself some breathing space e.g. if you know you can deliver a product at a push in 3 days, perhaps tell the customer that it will take four (if it’s not going to inconvenience them) and get it to them a day early – it’s guaranteed to put a smile on their face.
  3. Follow up swiftly – a few days later, check with the customer that their product arrived on time and ask them if they’d be happy to do a testimonial for you – more often than not, they’ll be up for it!

I’d love to hear about your experiences of ‘over-promising and under-delivering’ – where do you find it happening more, in your professional or personal life and what are your favourite examples?

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