If you are offering a service, irrespective of what it is, two recent experiences have reconfirmed this simple message:
'Always under promise and over deliver.'
A close relative, a nonagenarian, took a tumble the other day and this necessitated a visit to the Emergency Department of a regional hospital. The service/care provided by all the medical staff was excellent, but the assigned Doctor on duty, was particularly diligent. Part of the treatment required a brain scan be performed, but due to the pressures of patient demand, this was not going to occur immediately. As one hour went by and then another, the patient became increasingly frustrated; “I am in my nineties and have limited time to waste”. This frustration was communicated to our diligent Doctor, but he remained unflustered; “I am not going to lie to you, I cannot guarantee when you will be seen, but rest assured we are doing our best to get you processed”. No false promises, just a simple statement of the facts, with all ‘stakeholders’ knowing exactly where they stood.
The following day ( a Sunday!), I was required to remain housebound (meaning no golf for me) from 8.00 a.m to 12.00 p.m. as this was the window provided by our telco service provider, to have a technician come to the house to assess our dodgy Wi Fi. As midday came and went without a positive sighting of the technician, or any notification for the delay, a call was put into ‘Customer Service’. I was advised that the window had been changed to 9.00 a.m to 1.00 p.m. It would have been nice to have been informed, but we can live with it. As 1.00 p.m. came and went, another call was put in and ‘Customer Service’ now said that our booking had been delayed for another three days.
Both the above situations required patience and the management of expectations. One very successfully, the other, not. It reconfirmed a key lesson for all service providers, including me; keep your customers informed - always under promise, with a view to over delivery.
Your customers will love you for it!