Every business has something that they are promising, along with the product or service itself - a benefit. The item will work better or faster. It will last longer. You will receive it within a certain time frame. It will save you money. It will make you money. It’s available immediately. Something in your life or business will improve dramatically. You will arrive on time. The list of possibilities goes on and on.
Have you ever looked at it from the customer’s perspective, though? Are the explicit or implicit promises you make the same ones that your customer hears? Are they important to your customer or are they only important to you?
Let’s look at two examples:
1) I’m a fan of that show Kitchen Nightmares. It always amazes me how in-the-dark business owners can be about their offerings; in this case, it’s usually the quality of the food. Now my husband is convinced that many of these are put-ons, but I know that, even if they are, there are certainly restaurants out there where the food is mediocre at best and sometimes downright close to health violations. Nonetheless, every one of these owners and/or managers is convinced that their food is good and that their house specials are the best-tasting thing around. The fact that there are no customers is a mystery to them. The fact that people who eat there once don’t come back doesn’t even register. Even if they think the food is the better than anything Alain Ducasse could make, the fact that their customers don’t think it’s even good should be more important.
2) I used to be into couponing and getting things for free. I wasn't one of those “extreme couponers,” but I did get my fair share of deals. One of the local national-chain pharmacies usually has some pretty good deals in their Sunday flyers. I used to go in every week to take advantage. And, yes, I’d usually end up buying a few other things that weren’t on my list. The problem was that, if I wasn’t there by about noon on Sunday (the first day the new deals are valid each week), at least half of the best deals are already gone. If I couldn’t get there until Monday, forget about it. I didn’t go every week – in fact, one time, I didn't go for about six months. I figured that, since the items I wanted wouldn’t be considered their “best” deals, I might still have a chance on Tuesday. Well, of the three items I wanted, I got two. Not bad, but I wasn't in a rush to go back and actually haven't been in that store for several years not. Their inventory levels were not where they needed to be for advertised items and I felt that they were not fulfilling their promise to me.
From a marketing perspective, it’s important to find out what your customers’ expectations are. What is important to them may be completely unexpected by you. Your promises may not be of any consequence to them.
Once you know what your customers want and need, do your utmost to make those your value-added promises. Once you’ve done that, the only other thing you need to do is keep your promises.