Under promise and over deliver

February 15th, 2010

One key element in many people’s poor experiences with customer service is the inability of providers to deliver “on time”. But what is “on time”? Usually, it is as agreed at the time of the order. When a mobile phone company says it will replace the broken handset (again!) or supply the next upgrade and can offer 3 time slots, you pick one and it arrives in that 4 hour slot … every time, as far as I can recall. The fact that I may have liked a different time slot was not part of the discussion – that is the limit on their service.

When Tesco offers twice the difference if you are over-charged, that’s what you get. Having had great service on the clothing desk last week, the electrical department was completely overwhelmed and the assistant had no idea how to process the refund for the CD I had been over-charged for.

So, what about promising? More on the car I’m afraid – Sunday afternoon saw me in the local Kwik fit with a flat tyre. I had, of course, not noticed it soon enough and the tyre was beyond repair. However, when I arrived, there was a lengthy queue with a promised wait of at least an hour, probably 1 1/4 hours. Go and buy the Sunday paper and settle down for the long haul. 45 minutes later, they were asking for my keys, followed by showing me the prices of the various tyres, together with the discounts for certain makes.

How much was him hedging his bets or positively over exaggerating? I don’t know – but it works. All the staff I observed were helpful and gave time to their customers.

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