overpromise | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

“You’re the Boss” - 2/20/24


Terrence is excellent at what he does.  From a technical standpoint, he knows how to keep the facility clean.  He’s the lead custodian, and he knows that keeping things straight does not necessarily mean keeping things sanitary.  He knows what chemicals to use and not to use, how to Read more

Customer Understanding Leads to Relationship Growth - 2/13/24


We’ve worked with educational organizations at all grade levels over the years.  One special and unique characteristic about the staff who work in these organizations is that there’s a clear intent to know about the students as individuals, to focus on them rather than purely focusing on what’s delivered Read more

Define Customer Service Success Differently - 2/6/24


When I’m watching television, listening to the radio, or listening to a podcast, it’s always interesting when the topic moves to the question:  How can you be a success?  The speakers often discuss the process of becoming a success with the assumption that people believe success is defined by Read more

Care Enough to Give Them a Heads Up - 1/30/24


Nothing bad at all might happen.  Every day in the office could seem like every other day.  Sights and sounds and smells might continue to be the same.  But we have a lot of construction going on around our offices, and the building manager knows the type of work Read more

Be Better than AI Customer Service - 1/23/24


There was a recent CBS Sunday Morning Show story called: How artificial intelligence is revamping customer call centers. The journalist described how artificial intelligence is being used in customer service, and he noted the millions of pieces of information that can be processed in a matter of seconds. There are clear Read more

Recognize the Situation, and Pivot - 1/16/24


The customer has a complaint, or they may have an important question about an order or their account.  You may be talking to them in an emergency room, in the lobby of the government building, on the phone, or in a video conversation.  And in many of these Moments Read more

Sharpen Your Service Delivery - 1/9/24


You work so hard at being responsive and providing high quality information.  You work hard at fixing problems.  But is your delivery…dull? I’m not saying that it has to be exciting, but let’s think of the word “exciting.”  It means that something’s interesting, has energy, is positive.  Just by its Read more

Make Empathy Your Superpower - 1/2/24


I was facilitating a Service Excellence Training class for a Higher Ed client in the Northeast several years back.  As I was walking through the portions of our technique for defusing the angry customer, I talked about empathy.  I talked about accepting responsibility. Immediately, one of the hands in the Read more

Holiday Poem 2023 - 12/26/23


The days are getting longer, The skies are getting brighter. Festivities behind us, And festivities before us.   There’s ups and downs and change coming, And we can’t predict when or where. There’s challenges and joys and opportunities around, Of which you may or may not be aware.   But one thing we know as we look at each Read more

Refresh, Rejuvenate, Refocus - 12/19/23


It’s that time of year.  We’re going 100 miles an hour, and holiday time is upon us.  We not only have all the work to do, but we somehow have less time to do it.  We somehow have other things that are of competing interest, and even though those Read more

How to Exceed the Promise – 10/10/23

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week Please leave a comment

It’s the never-ending battle between marketing and customer service.  Marketing makes promises, and customer service has to deal with upset customers when the company doesn’t deliver.  To ensure we deliver on promises, let’s assess promises by looking at some famous quotes over time…

Promises may get Friends, but ‘tis Performances that keep them. Thomas Fuller

Why you gained a customer is not necessarily why you will keep that customer. Typically, that carrot that leads the customer to your organization is not based on their personal experiences with your business. But their personal experiences are what determine whether they come back or not. 

Don’t ever promise more than you can deliver, but always deliver more than you promise.  Lou Holtz

Promises in business create expectations, so it’s better to under promise and over deliver. Remember, the difference between an expectation and reality is a problem when the expectation is greater than the reality.  Make the reality a little greater than the promise.

Let your yes be yes and your no be no.  James

Just like you need to be clear with the customer about what you can do, be clear with them about what you cannot Don’t give the customer the impression that you can hit a deadline when you probably cannot, that you can process a full refund when you probably cannot, that you can fix a problem exactly how they’ve defined the solution when you know you cannot.  Don’t create your own issues.

An ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises.  Mae West

The ultimate judgment of an organization is their performance. The lasting impression of an organization is much more likely to be based on the last impression or experience rather than the initial promise.

Deliver on promises by under promising at the start.  By looking for ways to deliver a little bit more.  By being clear when you cannot do something.  By understanding that performance is what makes the lasting impression.

Exceed the Promise.

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Avoid the Overpromise – 9/15/15 TOW

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week Please leave a comment


Bill called tech support to ask about an issue with one of the company websites. After he gave the representative a brief description of the issue, the representative immediately and enthusiastically said “I can DEFINITELY help you with that!” After ten minutes on the phone, it became obvious that the representative couldn’t help and that his statement was merely a script.

The government employee received the building design plans from the architect and told him that the plans would be reviewed in 20 days. It was the first of the month, so the architect thought the plans would be reviewed by the 21st. On the 22nd, having heard nothing about the status of the plan review, the architect called the reviewer.

“No, they’re not ready,” said the reviewer. “I told you 20 days. It took us a couple days of administrative work to get these into review, then it’s 20 business days for review. Then it will take about 2-3 days to get the comments into the system for you to review and respond. So you should be able to review comments by the 5th of next month.”

These are two real-life examples of a company overpromising and a customer being upset with the result. In the website scenario, the employee conveyed hope – which can be good – but he made it sound so definitive that he set unrealistic expectations based on a brief understanding of the issue before knowing the true cause of the problem.

In the second case, the overpromise was due to communication issues. The statement “20 days” – while it seems straightforward – can mean two different things to two different people. There was no clarification of what that meant. If the employee said “the 5th of next month” from the start, there would have been no risk of overpromise.

When working with customers, convey hope if you think you can help, but temper it with a dose of realism. And when setting expectations for timeframes, be clear on what will happen and by when.

Don’t create the irate customer. Avoid the Overpromise.

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